This entry comes with a short story about myself. So if you don't want to hear this short story you're welcome to skip to the next paragraph. The story goes as such: I have a tendency to visit bookstores frequently. It became an even more frequent occurrence when I began working in one. But something happens while I browse the shelves. There will always be one, if not five books that continuously capture my attention. I'll return to these books, browse over them again, then place them on the shelf only to move on to something else that I just happened to spot right that moment. Leaving the book I have noticed the past eight times I visited a bookstore behind once more. Well, eventually the book breaks me down and I buy it. I don't know why I put it off so often, maybe it's my motive of finding good books? This past weekend (Saturday the 3rd) I decided to finally buy the book The Last Summer (of You and Me) after having seen this book haunt my dreams since June 2008.
Any Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants fans out there listen up, this book is by the same author. I adored her Traveling Pants series so I figured this book couldn't be half bad, I'd have to give it a try. Yet again, I don't know why I kept passing it up for other books, but I did. And then I decided to buy it in the cold months of January only to read it curled up in a highly heated house while it snowed outside.
Did I mention this book is, for the main part, taken place during the summer months and at the beach? Even the scenes that are taken place elsewhere (place and time) still have that memory and heavy scent of the ocean air. I can relate to this, I feel as if my heart belongs to the beach, although I've only visited it a handful of times in my life. I feel this book makes it clear that you may leave the beach but if you love it; it never leaves you.
When I had originally spotted the book I figured it would be a good beach read which, don't get me wrong, it is. But I feel the idea of a 'beach read' creates an idea that the book is generally lazy and calm. A good thing to relax to. Something without much substance. This book is not that typical beach read. This book is fabulous with strong characters and tear-jerking moments. Seriously, I had to duck into my room to finish reading the book because I got all choked up in front of my father. "You're crying because of a book, are you serious?" Was the type of question my fathers expression conveyed.
This book struck a personal cord with me. It deals with a heartbreak due to a certain event- this said event has happened in my own family so the pain felt amongst the characters was all the more understandable for myself. (Can you tell I'm attempting to be as vague as possible so not to give away details?)
I wouldn't let younger teenagers read the book, send them in the direction of The Traveling Pants and save this book for when they've reached 'adulthood'. You know, just so you don't step on any parents toes.
I think it's a great growth of Ms. Brashares though. She moved from a generally happy book about a group of teenagers and had them grow with each novel while having them deal with real life teenage issues. Then this book is even a step further then that, seeing that all the characters have either graduated college or are old enough to even have their Masters. It's a little bit more heavy, a little bit more sex, but all beautifully written and displayed in a classy way.
Much like her previous books, I feel I'll end up reading this book again when summer rolls around and I have sand in my hair after a good boogie boarding session.
Next Book Up:
Coraline by Neil Gaiman