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Favorite Summer Read!!
on June 6, 2011
The Summer We Came to Life is anything but typical and girlie. Rich and enchanting, it is unconventionally intellectual and weighty . . . while still being a great beach read! It delves right into real life personal issues women face today. Should Samantha really marry her French playboy boyfriend Remy? Samantha, like us women do, turns to her best friends for help. This in turn prompts the best friends' parents to weigh in with their own love stories in detail they'd never told their daughters.
All of this soul searching centers around the recent death of Mina. When death strikes too early, loved ones naturally ask - how could this possibly be the end? The journals Mina and Samantha kept examine the possibility of multiple realities in a desperate attempt to communicate after death. This exploration of scientific theories adds a fresh perspective on coping with death and mourning.
The novel also explores social and cultural issues of the Baby Boomer's generation - power and corruption during the Panamanian Revolution, the ideological terror of the Iranian Revolution, and brutal racism during Civil Rights in the South - reminding us that history books are really only the cliff notes of millions of very personal experiences.
But for me, the greatest strength of the book is the enviable bond of Samantha and her best friends and her unlikely family. It's an interesting commentary on our times - that with single parents, broken families, and women delaying starting their own families - best friends and extended circles become our soul mates and tribes. Samantha describes her friendship with Mina as "happiness that bubbles between us like warm, oozing honey." A pretty good description of how I feel about this book!