Summer PeopleWhen my job first ended I was on a phone with a friend of mine who asked me what my plans would be for the summer.  I told him I planned to search for a new job, lose some weight (so far I’ve gained 3 pounds), and work on my stories.  This was when he told me about a friend of his who one day decided to quit his 9-5 and write his novel.  This friend was Brian Groh, and the resulting book was Summer People

One of the things I left out of our conversation was that I planned to catch up on reading, so at his (sort of) recommendation (more of a referral) I picked up a copy of Summer People.  The following is an editorial review:

From Publishers Weekly
Groh’s debut, a fish-out-of-water story about a Cleveland college dropout who spends a summer caring for an elderly woman in a tony Maine beach town, is neither inspiring nor disappointing. Nathan Empson lands in Brightonfield Cove, Maine, with the intention of sorting out his life—his last relationship faltered, he dropped out of college, and he wants to be a graphic novelist—while caring for Ellen Broderick, an ailing elderly Cleveland woman who summers there. His caretaker responsibilities are more demanding than he’d imagined, and through time spent with Ellen, Nathan befriends Eldwin Lowell, an Episcopalian pastor with a drinking problem and a depressed wife, and Leah, the nanny to Eldwin’s children who becomes the necessary love interest. As the weeks tick by, Nathan learns intriguing bits about Ellen’s past, agonizes over his romantic and artistic woes and, among other things, gets beat up and watches a house burn down. It’s a solidly good book. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

It took me a matter of days, reading 2-3 chapters at a time otfinish the book.  It is a fairly easy read and rather entertaining.  But on the other hand it was also kind of frustrating.  Nathan, the main character is whiny and a pussy, and drinks to drown his sorrows.  During the course of the story I wanted to yell at the pages, “Be a man!”  Then you realize his age – he’s supposed to be about 22.  He’s not appreciating the natural beauty of Maine as much as someone my age or older would.  He’s had his heart broken by a girl back home, and is now confused about a girl he’s met in Maine.  I get that.  Who hasn’t, at some point brooded over a girl.  There have been enough of those in my past who have become distant in our young relationship, or just decided to not call anymore, or got back together with an ex.  And as you read on you can’t help but sympathise even though you want to slap him across the face for being such a whiny dork. 

This isn’t The Great Gatsby, but it is still satisfying.  It’s entertaining.  And if you try really hard you can imagine the setting, and imagine yourself there, and if you’re into that sort of thing it’s actually quite enjoyable.

~Sam

Advertisements