Monday, August 12, 2013

Review: "The Summer We Read Gatsby"

The Summer We Read Gatsby by Danielle Ganek
3 out of 5 stars

I'm not sure why I thought it'd be a good idea to read a book centered around The Great Gatsby when I didn't even enjoy the original that much. But this book had been on my to-buy list for a long time and it had good reviews and I saw it at the library one day, so I decided why not? Glowing recommendation, right? Well, this book was pretty decent and I definitely enjoyed it more than Gatsby. If you're a fan of Gatsby, I'd highly recommend it...I think you'll get the sentiments and references a lot more than I did. Like the title, this is a good summer read, especially if you're one of those lucky ones who get to go to a summer/beach house. :)

The story starts in 2008 and seems to be told looking back, which didn't really work for me. Too much "looking back" and "I should have known..." etc. It was confusing and clunky. Cassie is a 28 year old divorcee who has been living in Switzerland and is now visiting her half-sister Pecksland, an over-dramatic "actress" who has a tendency to call people by their proper name, whether they like it or not. Peck and Stella (Cassie's real name & what I'll call her from now on too) get together for a summer in the Hampton's after their Aunt Lydia dies and leaves them her summer home. She specified in her will that she wanted them to spend one last summer there together before they sell it and also to "seek a thing of utmost value". (Not sure if we ever found out what this was, actually.)

The opening premise is good...I liked both girls quite a bit and really enjoyed seeing their relationship grow over the summer. They started out as two complete opposites (personality, looks, living situations) and it was a lot of fun watching them become real sisters by the end of the book. Peck teaches Stella to live a little and Stella gives Peck a sense of responsibility. I would have bumped my rating up to 4 stars if that was all the book was about. But it wasn't. (<--one of those "flashback" things that are annoying lol.)

There were romances for both girls too and even that part was okay, if a little weak in parts. It was the "Fool-in-Residence", Biggsy the artist, and his plot that I had problems with. Named so after the Fool's House, Lydia had a habit of taking in wanna-be artists and letting the creativity run rampant. The last Fool, a handsome young man named Biggsy who liked to capture weird moments on camera, refused to leave after her death and seemed to think he deserved to stay. At first, the girls are okay with it because he helps with cooking and cleaning but then things start getting weird. And the weird parts are why I bumped it back down to 3 stars. I won't go into any more detail than that though, because I do think this is a book worth reading, especially, as I said before, if you are a Gatsby-fanatic. :)


  1. I hate it when books do that looking back thing. Usually there is absolutely no need for the foreshadowing, and who talks like that anyway?

    1. Right! It didn't make any sense for this book not to be in the present tense.