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Summer in the Land of Skin

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3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  253 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
Twenty-five-year-old Anna--blond, famished and emotionally numb--is following the long-cold trail of her father, a celebrated luthier, whose death has always haunted her. She has tracked his former business partner to a houseboat on Bellingham Bay, determined to prize from the old man the secrets of their guitar-making trade, and maybe a few answers about her father. Anna ...more
Paperback, 314 pages
Published August 1st 2004 by Red Dress Ink
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Melanie
Sep 10, 2009 Melanie rated it it was amazing
I almost feel bad for Jody Gherman that this was published by Red Dress Ink, because if it was under a mainstream publisher's name I think it could have been an Oprah book or something. This definitely wasn't "chick lit" - not fluffy and funny, but a coming-of-age type story done really, really well. It was fabulous, made me think, and reminded me a little of Paint It Black by Janet Fitch. I don't know if that's due to the whole suicide angle, or if it's a similarity in the writing, but either ...more
Talea
Jan 20, 2008 Talea rated it liked it
It was cute, an easy chick-lit read. Sort of stereotypical teenage-girl-growing-up kind of book, pretty predictable but a nice easy read for those times you don't want to give your brain too much of a workout.
Alphawoman
Feb 16, 2012 Alphawoman rated it it was ok
After several false starts on books that just did not seem that interesting...reading 70 pages here, 50 pages there, I finally picked up the least likely from the trip to the Highland Library SITLOS by Ms. Gehrman.

I was sitting at poolside in Ohio when Joe asks "whats it about". And I said something like this (I was about 70 pages into it) Its about this girl whose father committed suicide and she sits in windows with binoculars and watches people. She them makes up stories about them and sketch
...more
Lyndsey
Jun 20, 2014 Lyndsey rated it really liked it
This story is about Anna, Arlan and Lucy. A lot of it deals with Anna's dad whom killed himself. Now that Anna is older, she wants answers. She doesn't have much of an relationship with her mother so she ends up leaving. Rosie, her aunt, tells her where to go.

This is where we meet Elliott Bender aka Benders. Anna's dad and him had a guitar shop. Worked on old ones, made their own. Anyways, Benders ends up giving Anna letters her dad wrote. Unlocking some of his past, Benders and even a little o
...more
Francesca Rock
Nov 13, 2013 Francesca Rock rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2013
Holy crap. So glad that's over. I haven't read a book this douchetastic in a while. It was almost impressively douchey.

Seriously. It was just so incredibly pretentious. Honestly - who gives a shit about the taste of the air in the bar and similar descriptions - just makes you sound like an idiot.

Ah! This book just tried WAY too hard. I obviously didn't like it - I can't even describe it more than that. And the final line, about the smell of the rain, HAHAHA, bull shit!

So yeah - I've said nothi
...more
Deborah
Jun 26, 2010 Deborah rated it really liked it
Shelves: chick-lit, fiction
This book wasn't a typical Red Dress Ink book.
Anna is dealing with and continues to hurt from her father's suicide 14 years ago. Her mother doesn't like to speak about him, so she turns to her aunt. Her aunt tells her some things she never knew. Anna heads to Bellingham, OR, in search of Bender, her father's friend and fellow guitar crafter. She wants to learn the art and more about her father. She also meets Anna, Arlan, Grady and others. They all have their own issues and more then enough tro
...more
Haley
Jul 25, 2009 Haley rated it really liked it
Anna is a 25-year-old "watcher": she'd rather observe life than actually live it, and sketches her imagined scenarios of the people she watches. When a friend sends her to Bellingham, WA, home of her deceased father's best friend, it becomes the summer that changes her. Impulsively, and not at all like her usual self, she crashes at the home of someone she's known for only a few hours and becomes a resident there, in what she calls the "Smoke Palace".
Lyrical and moving, the beginning propels y
...more
Annie
Sep 03, 2008 Annie rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written and flawless painted settings/scenes.
Gehrman did a wonderful job with this novel, in my opinion, because of how all the characters and the plot were so complex and very multi-dimensional. Every character were complex in that all of them were so flawed and troubled and each had their own problems. You develop empathetic and sympathetic feelings towards the characters; there was no way to dislike any character.
And the setting(s) was absolutely beautiful, like a painting, and th
...more
Laura
Aug 03, 2011 Laura rated it liked it
Pretty good. Made me desperately want to run away/learn how to play the guitar. Publisher usually puts out "romance" books but this one definitely wasn't, I could tell by the description despite the cheesy ads in the back so I picked it up off the library shelf and I'm glad I did. It resonated for me as I am similar to the protagonist in losing a father that I idolized and feeling like I needed to find the true him, the man who wasn't my daddy, but just himself.
Victoria Ryan
Feb 08, 2011 Victoria Ryan rated it liked it
I picked up "Summer in the Land of Skin" in an airport in an attempt to thwart boredom on a long flight, and this book served its rightful purpose. The language is beautiful and strikes a myriad of emotion in the reader, but unfortunately, the emotion seems to fall a little short on our emotionally numb narrator. The story is awkwardly humorous and sometimes realistically tragic, but there's definitely a piece of everybody in it somewhere
Angela
Mar 26, 2011 Angela rated it it was amazing
Shelves: chick-lit
I understand why Gehrman received a six-figure advance for this debut novel. A story at once hopeful and tragic, it chronicles the summer of awakening discoveries for Anna, the daughter of a guitarist/luthier/father who committed suicide and the harpist/techy/mother whose secret life destroyed the underlying stitches that hemmed the family together.

A poignant, rambling journey full of fun and quiet surprises, Summer in the Land of Skin will remind you of the importance of living today.
Sarah
I read this book way back when it was first published and loved it. I just found it in a pile of old books and looked up the publisher to see if they still exist. Sadly, they were taken over by Harlequin, folded into their Chick Lit line and then dissolved. Too bad, because they published some good stuff. It looks like the author now writes YA, so I may check out some of her new stuff.
Tracy Rodgers
Aug 04, 2009 Tracy Rodgers rated it really liked it
i'm generally not huge on chick lit, so i was hesitant about this book (red dress ink tends to be very SATC-type stuff, which i love on tv but not so much in my novels), but it's much more "coming of age" than anything else. way better than the usual "single professional girl in the big city looking for love" type of thing, with interesting, well-drawn characters and some really lovely passages.
Sharmon
Feb 15, 2013 Sharmon rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2013
Not my favorite....I actually put it down for 6 months with just a few chapters to go and wasn't compelled to finish it again until I was cleaning my desk. I thought that I would just Love the depressed character of Anna and would love to hear her story but I just didn't fall in love with her.
Sue Young
Jul 06, 2008 Sue Young rated it it was amazing
This book was quirky, edgy and different. I like Jody's voice very much in this book the character's inner dialoge is very nicely conveyed
Sasha
May 30, 2009 Sasha rated it really liked it
I quite liked this book! It was an easy read and kept me coming back for more. VERY descriptive, allowing you to really get immersed in the setting and story. A great summer/holiday read!
Amanda
Dec 28, 2010 Amanda rated it did not like it
Definitely not chic lit. I had a hard time getting into it because I picked it up and was expecting an easy read since RDI published it. Not so much the Vacation Beach Read that I wanted.
Ana Manwaring
Jun 27, 2016 Ana Manwaring rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: beginning novelists
Shelves: mainstream, favorites
Jodiy Gehrman's first published novel is brilliant and quirky. It gives me an example to strive for with my own novels. A very sastisfying read.
Staci
Jan 13, 2012 Staci rated it liked it
Interesting book, although if you have ever spent time in the Pacific NW it becomes bothersome when the narrator describes summer in the NW and some geographical issues in Bellingham.
Rachael
Jun 27, 2012 Rachael rated it really liked it
I loved it! Dark and funny at the same time it did a great job of delving into the mind of the less than whole.
Mandi
Oct 02, 2010 Mandi rated it really liked it
I loved this book and once I started I couldn't seem to put it down! I didn't think the ending was that great, it left me wanting more to read and to see what happened next.
Marie Judson-Rosier
Marie Judson-Rosier rated it it was amazing
Jul 21, 2012
Samantha Steele
Samantha Steele rated it liked it
Mar 16, 2011
Cupcakencorset
Oct 30, 2010 Cupcakencorset rated it really liked it
Definitely not typical chick lit, this book has more depth of emotion and really resonates.
Roseanne
Roseanne rated it it was amazing
Jul 27, 2013
Kelly
Kelly rated it it was amazing
Jul 15, 2011
Tara Murdock
Tara Murdock rated it liked it
Jan 06, 2015
Leighmck
Leighmck rated it it was ok
Jan 02, 2016
Chris
Chris rated it it was amazing
Oct 18, 2013
Robyn
Robyn rated it it was amazing
Jul 13, 2015
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Jody Gehrman is a native of Northern California, where she can be found writing, teaching, reading, or obsessing over her three cats most days. She is also the author of ten novels and numerous award-winning plays. Her Young Adult novels include The Truth About Jack, Audrey's Guide to Black Magic, Audrey's Guide to Witchcraft, Babe in Boyland, Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty, and Triple Shot ...more
More about Jody Gehrman...

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