Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Review - The Summer We Read Gatsby

The Summer We Read Gatsby, by Danielle Ganek and read by Justine Eyre
Format: audiobook
Rating: 3.5 stars
The Summer We Read Gatsby is a delightful novel about two half-sisters who have inherited an aging house in the Hamptons. Cassie, also known as Stella, and her sister Peck decide to spend one last summer in the house before selling it. Over the course of the summer, which reminds them of the summer 7 years before when they really did read The Great Gatsby, they search for love, a missing painting, a ghost, a way to afford to keep the house, and the "thing of utmost value" that their aunt mentioned in her will.

In spite of a few negative reviews, I liked this book. It wasn't a book that brought on any great emotions, but it was a pleasant read filled with humor and a sense of wistfulness. One or two of the reviews that I read mentioned that it would be a good beach read (especially since it was set in the summer), but I ended up listening to it in the winter which was nice as it brought with it the feeling of warm, lazy summer vacations and eased some of the dreariness of January. It also put me in the mood to reread Gatsby myself, which I have not done since high school. Novels that make you want to reread classics or learn more about a particular topic or historical period always get extra points in my book. The characters were intelligent and interesting. They were also pretty, and moderately succesful, which is another plus in my mind - it irks me when characters are too perfect.

This book lent itself well to the audiobook format. It was straightforward and easy to follow which is important if you are like me and listen in short bursts rather than long sittings. And I cannot say enough good things about Justine Eyre. I first discovered her when I listened to Margaret George's novel Helen of Troy. Ms. Eyre's voice was wonderfully suited for that book, and I liked her treatment of this book almost as well. Some reviewers found her accents off-putting, but I thought they were very well-done, especially her interpretation of Cassie, who grew up in Europe rather than America.

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