The Summer Place by Jennifer Weiner: A review

 

If it is summer it must be time for another Jennifer Weiner book and right on schedule, here it is! It's The Summer Place and it takes place on Cape Cod, of course.

The central plot line involves a planned wedding. Twenty-two-year-old Ruby, daughter of Eli and stepdaughter of Sarah, is planning to get married to Gabe in three months. This takes place during the pandemic and everyone is already feeling the strain of so much enforced togetherness during this time. At some points, it seems like this wedding might be the final straw that breaks the family apart. 

The matriarch of this family is 80-year-old Veronica, called Ronnie, of course. Ronnie is widowed and is staying at the family beach house on Cape Cod. She is very excited about her granddaughter's wedding, especially the fact that it will bring all the family together one more time. She looks forward to that because when she has them all together, she has something she wants to tell them. 

Ronnie was once a popular published author but she stopped publishing years ago. Stopped publishing but didn't stop writing and now she has a closet full of her unpublished work.

The stepmother Sarah has a twin brother Sam who is now a widower taking care of his stepson Connor. Sam was actually probably my favorite character and there are a LOT of characters in this tale and it was not always easy to keep them straight in my mind. That may have had something to do with the writing which I did not find particularly compelling. It was not bad, but I would not describe it as riveting. I found my mind wandering from time to time. 

And then there is Rosa who is the mother of the groom. Rosa had had dreams of a theater career in New York but she gave that all up to raise Gabe on her own. She became a nurse in order to support him and herself. When Eli learns who she is, he realizes in horror that he knows her from the past; that, in fact, he "knew" her in the biblical sense. This does not bode well for a marriage between Ruby and Gabe.

Well, that's it. I can't go on. It's just too convoluted. Actually, reading the book was a reasonably pleasurable experience but trying to accurately describe the rather labyrinthine plot is just mind-numbing. 

The beach read is Jennifer Weiner's forte and this one does not disappoint. She keeps the action coming and pulls the reader along at a fairly lively clip with her slightly dysfunctional family and their complicated relationships and juicy secrets. You can almost feel the sand between the pages.

Comments

  1. While I don't usually go for these kinds of books, I will say I really want to know all the juicy secrets!

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  2. Dysfunctional families can be rather difficult to explain in a book review...LOL This has been on my summer list but every time I think about starting it I'm put off a bit - maybe because I found last year's summer release by Weiner disappointing.

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    1. I have enjoyed everything of hers that I've read but some more than others, of course. This one was sort of in the middle.

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  3. What a family! And why is it that books like this are always more fun to read in the summer?

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    1. You know, that is true! I hadn't really considered that but there is definitely truth in your observation. Maybe it has something to do with the heat.

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  4. I have only read one Weiner but I like the sand in the pages of books ... and can't wait to read on the beach in August! ha. I'm glad this one did not disappoint for you.

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    1. It would hardly even seem like summer without one of the "sand in the pages" books from Weiner.

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