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Beach Week: A Novel Hardcover – May 25, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
The looming specter of Beach Week—the traditional weeklong party held by recent high school graduates—drives the anxieties and recklessness of the characters in Coll's middling comedy. Despite their parents' close involvement, a group of girls from the D.C. suburbs proceed with their plans for debauchery at a Delaware rental house. Rudderless housewife Leah Adler and her increasingly distant husband, Charles, have not decided whether to let their daughter, Jordan, go, yet Leah becomes involved in the parental bureaucracy and controversy, and soon pins her hopes on being a chaperone. Jordan, meanwhile, falls into a mostly one-sided relationship with Khalid, a handsome college student who appears only marginally interested. Meanwhile, Noah, the owner of the girls' rented beach house, battles his increasingly odd inner world in an attempt to stay connected with his young son. Though well-written and occasionally incisive in its depiction of Facebook-era rites of passage, the novel contains few surprises, and the hurdles are both expected and easily overcome. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
You’ve heard of a tempest in a teapot? Coll’s novel is a tempest in a sand pail. Well-heeled teens from a ritzy D.C. suburb spend the last week of senior year at the shore. Simple right? Not a chance! Parents plan for correctness and rules. Kids consider what controlled substances to bring. Leah and Charles, parents of Jordan, are new to the area and its rituals. Jordan, a senior, is set apart by a concussion from a soccer game. Injury and recovery have matured her in ways her parents have yet to understand. A shabby beach house with a bad smell somewhat ameliorated by the smell of pot, the Peeping Tom owner (who acquired the house in a divorce settlement), and Jordan’s father as a chaperone playing beer pong with another father are only the beginning of the beach week’s challenges and festivities. When the police arrive, they find riotous behavior, marathon drinking and drugs, and someone walking a lobster on a leash. Coll offers a true beach read: no social commentary, all romp. --Danise Hoover
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Top Customer Reviews
The parents and their daughters were totally unrecognizable to me. Admittedly my neighborhood isn't as affluent as "Verona," and we don't have anywhere near as many wealthy lawyers, but we don't act like that. And our kids don't either (at least the ones my daughters associated with), although I have heard things about the kids in "Verona" which make me glad I live where I do.
At the end a character makes a radical change in life-style, which is not only out of character but totally unconvincing. Another goes completely wild during Beach Week, again out of character but understandable in the context.
I wish I had just read the excerpt and not spent the money on the book.
However, I have mixed feelings about this novel. While I thought the premise of the book was very interesting - specifically a book dealing with parents AND teenagers - almost equally in a specific situation. I also thought that the writing was incredibly slow paced - way toooooo slow for my taste.
I liked that the author actually took a specific timeframe and basically wrote about it from kind of both the parents and the teenagers points of view - at times even showing how silly and ridiculous both sides can be/are. I am use to reading books with a strong focus on the teens - to this was a nice change. I also loved the, at times, sarcastic tone the author uses - although it is well muffled in the storylined.
However, wow! this book is sloooow[...] I found myself skipping entire pages and still being quite able to pick up the flow of the storyline. Either this book needed alot more editing or the author needed to shorten some of the passages.
Unfortunately, the pacing of a story is crucial for me - and, because of this, I have rated this 3 stars.
I was hoping that everything would come together in the end, in an interesting, profound way that would make 300 pages of pointless rambling seem to make sense. But that never happened. The amount of ridiculous nonsense that happened in the last few chapters was just that- ridiculous nonsense. It felt like the author was trying to develop an "unbelievably crazy" situation to finally add some drama into the story, but she only managed to make it literally unbelievable. The conflicts within this story really aren't anything I could remotely identify with, nor did they seem to be severe enough for me to even care or feel sympathy.
Also a pet peeve that lead to my disinterest in the book: the entire thing is in third person. I felt like an outsider was telling the story and I never really knew who this "outsider" was. Sometimes it doesn't bother me, but with this book it seemed very disconnected with the amount of internal thoughts going on within each character.
The bottom line is that this story is completely void of excitement. I was so bored reading this book. When the action finally did begin at the very end (and I use the term action loosely, because it was hardly that) I found myself rolling my eyes. I thought "of course, each of those predictable, boring dilemmas are going to happen to each character in the story, all within 2 pages in a 320 page book."