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Sag Harbor Paperback – June 15, 2010
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The narrative meanders along and at times the descriptions are so long that it feels indulgent and calling out for an editor. This is most apparent in (but unfortunately not limited to) the scene where the main character describes all the types of people that come into the ice cream shop where he works; it goes on for many pages (I read it on kindle so not I am not sure how many, just too many) and it works for a few paragraphs before it just gets annoying. I also found some parts of the book rather confusing. It would jump ahead to the "present time" and say how things worked out or talk about subsequent or previous summers and then, I guess, go back to the particular summer that was the focus of the book. But I wasn't always sure about this, what age the Benji character was, what the year was, and where all the stories fit in relation to each other.
Still, I found many of the stories to be very funny. I would remember them later and have my husband read particular passages because I thought he would also find them funny. Overall, I liked the characters and the stories and the writing, but it bored me in between these funny stories. It wasn't the kind of book I couldn't put down or wanted to keep reading after my subway ride was over, walking down the street with it, trying not to get run over, like I have with other books. I actually read it during a long "vacation" weekend and even with little else to do I didn't always pick it up when I could. So in the end, I suppose three stars is about right. Maybe 3.5 if I had the option - because I do think it's well-written and the characters are mostly likeable and there are some very funny bits and some relateable pieces. I don't consider the days I spent reading this book to be a waste of time, but having read many good things about this book, I expected more.