Summer Sisters by Judy Blume
After reading Kissing in Manhattan I really wasn’t sure what kind of direction I wanted to go in picking out my next book to read. Did I want a fluff book? Did I want something more serious? Without really being able to classify how I felt about the last book I read, I decided to pick up Summer Sisters.
Summer Sisters is one of Judy Blume’s novels written for adults. It tells the story of two young girls, Caitlin and Vix, who become friends and spend their summers together at Caitlin’s father’s house in Martha’s Vineyard. As the girls grow up, their relationship changes. They drift apart during each year but always come back to each other as “summer sisters” until eventually, they almost completely lose touch. The novel begins at this moment of separation when Caitlin calls Vix to tell her she’s getting married to the first boy that Vix loved. The story is then told through a series of flashbacks until once again you’re back in the present.
To be completely honest, I think I expected a lot more out of this book. Actually, scratch that, I think I expected it to be a different kind of book altogether. If I’m being fair, I expected this book to leave me feeling warm and fuzzy about friendships that continued from childhood into adulthood (or even just a little bit happier); a little more Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants if you will. I think I kept hoping that Caitlin would stop acting spoiled and realize what a great friend she had in Vix. Instead, I was left with an odd mixture of apathy and melancholy. By the end of the book, I really didn’t care what happened to Caitlin at all.
With all this being said, I think that these feelings were all intended by Blume. If this was supposed to be a happy-go-lucky book about friendship and summer, then it would by all means be a complete failure. Instead, it’s a kind of hard and realistic portrayal of how life can turn out. Which isn’t to say that things turn out bad; but before picking up this book make sure you aren’t hoping for a fairytale.
If you’ve read Summer Sisters, please share how you felt at the end. I’m very curious to see if others felt the same way.