Saturday, September 10, 2011

Summer Friends- Review

Title:  Summer Friends
Author:  Holly Chamberlin
Publisher:  Kensington

I won this book from

Goodreads Summary:

Over the course of one eventful summer, nine-year-old native Mainer Delphine Crandall and Maggie Weldon, a privileged girl "from away," become best friends. Despite the social gulf between them, their bond is strengthened during vacations spent rambling around Ogunquit's beaches and quiet country lanes, and lasts throughout their college years in Boston. It seems nothing can separate them, yet after graduation, Delphine and Maggie slowly drift in different directions. . .
With her MBA, Maggie acquires a lucrative career, and eventually marries. Delphine is drawn back home, her life steeped in family and the Maine community she loves. Twenty years pass, until one summer, Maggie announces she's returning to Ogunquit to pay an extended visit. And for the first time, the friends are drawn to reflect on their choices and compromises, the girls they were and the women they've become, the promises kept and broken—and the deep, lasting ties that even time can never quite wash away. . .

My thoughts:

I read this thinking it would be a lighthearted summer read- and it was, but there were other layers as well, that went a little deeper.  These two friends from childhood had drifted apart as adults, which is normal- people grow up, and find they have nothing in common as adults, or people move - there are a ton of reasons this happens.  And it makes sense that it would happen to Delphine and Maggie; they were summer friends, who became year round friends, but were worlds apart when it came to social and economic backgrounds. Maggie however makes it her mission to rekindle their friendship.

The characters in the beginning of the book bothered me; I didn't like either one.  Maggie was shallow and materialistic, Delphine was kind of a drudge for her family, and boring.  And the differences in their lifestyles was evident at the start, especially since neither friend made an effort to try to understand the other's life at all.  They just wanted to judge it or change it. Both women really did need to make changes- Delphine needed to get a life of her own, and Maggie needed to take her life back, and not live only for work at the expense of her family. 

There was a backstory about Delphine's ex-fiance, and how it affected the friendship of the women.  To be honest, it felt clunky to me and I didn't really care about it.  It was an event that was the catalyst for Delphine's isolation from Maggie, but it never felt right to me.  I think this part didn't need to be in there- Delphine's own feelings would have taken her home with0ut rehashing that relationship occasionally within the novel.  I understood the reasons it was written into the book, but I felt that it was either not developed enough to make the reader care about it, or was just superflous.

The story picked up for me midway- I began to know the characters more, and they became more well rounded, and not so stuck up or stick in the mudlike.  I began to root for the friendship, and wanted them to be friends again.  I was surprised at how much I liked the book by the end, simply because I didn't care for the characters in the beginning.  I really saw them grow throughout the book.

If you like books about women, friendships, and lovely settings, I would recommend this book to you.

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