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Summer People

2.43 of 5 stars 2.43  ·  rating details  ·  1,042 ratings  ·  212 reviews
Nathan Empson has just accepted the most unusual summer job of his life. In exchange for serving as a "caretaker” for Ellen Broderick, the eccentric matriarch of an exclusive coastal community, he'll earn a generous paycheck and gain access to one of the last bastions of old New England wealth. But not everyone in town is welcoming—or even civil. And while he discovers com ...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published October 6th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published April 10th 2007)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,735)
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Cheryl S.
I think I bought this book because the cover looked appealing to me in the middle of a Minnesota winter. Big mistake. It's taking me forever to read it because the story just isn't very interesting and the main character (male) seems to be a cross between a whimp and a dip. Finally finished this book. Basically there was not much of a story and the characters were very blah. Only finished because I didn't have anything else with me to read on breaks at work.
Dec 25, 2007 Sarah rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: weekend read
I have finally figured out what this book was about. I read it about two weeks ago and I had already written one review but then, today while I was cooking (maybe I should cook more often), I figured it out and this epiphany explained why I liked it but didn't like it at the same time. This book is about a guy who is out of his depth.

He is out of his depth socially in this exclusive Maine, summer community. He's out of depth intellectually with the woman he wants to date. He's taken a job that h
Summer People is a fantastic read. Nathan Empson is College drop out, with part-time job at a local library, and has hopes of becoming an artist. With the recent break up of his long time girl friend, and dead end job he needs a break from reality. When offered a summer job as caretaker of Ellen Broderick, a wealthy eccentric widow, he feels this is the break he needs.

The job appears to be simple, but he soon finds out it won't be as easy as he thought. He finds Ellen is not of sound mind, and n
Well, what do you know: there's a male version of "chick lit". I bought this book for $0.99 at a used book store while searching for emergency back-up vacation beach reading material. I paid about $0.98 too much.

The plot on the back cover made this novel sound like a modern version of The Great Gatsby. It's not. Instead, the storyline had all the hallmarks of the lite-est, most lit-less chick lit but with a "he" pronoun -- an annoyingly indecisive main character looking for purpose in his young
Jul 15, 2008 Bvnichols rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: someone looking for a quick read, something to take to the beach or on a plane
Recommended to Bvnichols by: saw it in a book store, decided to take a chance
This is the author's first book. It started out well, but by the time I was done reading, I was sick of the characters and the story. The story lacked depth. It resembled an essay we've all written entitled, "How I Spent my Summer Vacation". The characters were not fully developed. I just didn't care about them. I am not anxious to read anything else by this author.
Stephen Gallup
I'd go along with another reviewer on this site who said every character in this novel is out of his depth. Everyone, from Nathan, the profoundly confused main character, to his offstage father, is in a situation he doesn't know how to handle.

I do not agree with all the low ratings others are giving it. Yes, poor choices are made throughout. A few times I put down the book and closed my eyes in exasperation with things Nathan had just said. But I attribute that to an honest depiction/reliable n
Eh- this book started off pretty slow, then it started to pick up. Sometimes I felt uncomfortable reading this because the main character Nathan is just so pathetic and gets himself into the worst situations. He doesn't do anything to help himself be better either. He is unemployed and his only friend is this old lady he just started taking care of. I don't even know if she likes him all that much! The book came to a climax when Nathan started to be happy and start to have direction in his life, ...more
Georgiann Hennelly
It seems like easy money, accompanying Ellen to the Golf and Tennis Club or joining her for cocktails at a neighbors mansion. But not everyone welcomes him they regard him as an interloper. So he finds solace in the companionship of an ex punk Episcopalian pastor and the nanny of the pastor,s children Leah.Leah has many suitors so Nathan has to compete for her attencion. And when Ellen,s colorful past comes to light, exposing the secret lives of her old friends, flames, and enemies, as well as t ...more
Alicia B.
Feb 15, 2008 Alicia B. rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of F Scott Fitzgerald
Reminiscent of F. Scott Fitzgerald, I love the writing style, the snappy dialogue and the character development. Definitely a great read for the thinking person! Plus, I love how everything and everyone in this book is in transition - from one point of life to another, whether it's the young or the old, or even the ones struggling to bunk depression and mediocrity. The characters are so well developed, especially Nathan, that I can't help but think I got to know him and others on a very personal ...more
Books like this one are why I joined "goodreads" in the first place. Guess I need to start logging on and checking out reviews before I buy books.

This book was AWFUL! The main character makes you want to shake him really hard and tell him to get a life. The same goes for the depressed priest's wife, the f*bomb dropping priest, the rich old dude that cannot choose between his 2nd wife and Ellen, and the bratty rich kid Thayer.

I could not bring myself to waste time and finish the last 60 or so p
I liked the book in the beginning but then it turned into a whiney mess. I could'nt stand Nathan,the main character. His annoyingly whimpy, drama queen characteristics drove me nuts. Plus, the plot line was unrealistic and ridiculous. I would give it one star if it wasn't for the fact that I enjoyed the first 50-75 pages. Do not waste your time with this book. I can't wait to return it to the library.
This was a real summer book, the kind you can read on a beach and then quickly forget. It's not a badly written book at all, I just couldn't get into the main character, who is a young man without a whole lot of anything. Just lazy and self-entitled and self-pitying. Oh right, your typical American male.

The cover is cool, though. Yup, that's my review.

Book Season = Summer (duh)
I'm really not sure how I felt about this book, it's a "woman's" novel but the main character is a wimply college aged boy who becomes the caretaker of an elderly woman for the summer. He is out of his comfort zone and that is rather discomforting. Stories about elderly people losing their place in world always distress me and this was no exception. I kept hoping something would click and whe would become alive and aware. Nathan is rather pathetic and that makes him likeable and easy to identify ...more
Heidi Weinmann
This was a fairly quick read and it had several layers of meaning in it, but I was never really able to connect with any of the characters. It was not my favorite book, but I didn't feel as though it was a complete waste of time either.
This book is so whiny. Whiny characters, whiny "plot" (or lack thereof), whiny whiny whiny. Look at me - I'm whining about how whiny it is! - proof that this book breeds whiny-ness and should be avoided.
A very pleasant novel, one that was unexpected. The cover made it look like sizzling summer beach-type book, but it's really a quiet novel, with a very well-done narration. Not a lot happens in the book, it's just a tale of a young man who dropped out of college and not sure what to do, who takes a job looking after an older woman at her summer mansion in Maine. We go for rides, meet the neighbors, go to the country club and it's all filled with observation and clever humor. Meanwhile, Nathan, t ...more
May 06, 2009 Katy rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those looking for an entertaining read, but don't mind a lack of resolution.
Shelves: 2009, own, light, fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I read this novel in spite of the poor reviews on goodreads, and while I thought the reviews were dead on throughout the first half of the book, I'm glad I kept reading.

An early twenty-something young man is hired to be a driver for an elderly woman as a summer job in a small coastal New England town.

Between not knowing his role as care giver, looking for resolution on past loves, and trying to fit in with the summering wealthy neighbors, the protagonist, Nathan, has the summer to figure some th
Brian Groh's debut novel is a must read. "Summer People," has all the ingredients for a splendid read.

Nathan, a young man unhappy and unsure of his future plans, blindly accepts a financially-rewarding respite from his mundane life.

After a mysterious car accident on the beach the previous year, Ellen requires a caregiver so that she could stay at her summer cottage. Within a private Maine coastal enclave, the summer people seemingly appear to welcome one of their own.

Emotionally suspended since
Judging books by their covers is, indeed, a reckless activity. I kept being drawn to the cover of this book, with its simple, asymmetrical arrangement of shiny wooden oars of different hues. I liked the write-up on the back - a young man goes to serve as a companion to an elderly woman near the sea. This sounds different. Although I mildly enjoyed this book, I felt it could have been so, so much more than it was. It turns out to be about a less-than-mature young man falling in and out of love an ...more
I read a lot of the reviews before I started as it has a pretty low rating. So, I wasn't expecting much, which is a good thing. This is one of the most bland books I've read in a long time. You've got this shlump for a main character. He has no character, no interests, and just seems to float through life. I was questioning the point of this book - is it him finding himself over the summer? Is it him deciding whether to stay in Cleveland or move to NYC? Is it him deciding to try and have a bette ...more
It's a different perspective on the whole "coming of age" novel. While the narrator/main character isn't necessarily in the age bracket that I would assume a "coming of age" novel should be... he is rather immature and going through the whole self reflecting. He's experimenting with love, experiencing changing roles within his family and discovering his own personal limits.

There wasn't a tangible story arc, very little conclusion... but all the same. I liked it. I liked him. I liked the post-pu
Interesting premise, strong characters, disarmingly honest and emotional prose. So what went wrong in the story? I was really engaged in the first half, and then found myself picking it up less and less. The plot had momentum for a while, seeming to build up to a good climax, and then sort of fell apart. I was left wondering why nothing changed for the main character, why he never got conclusion or revenge or satisfaction on ANY front, other than being glad he was still alive at the end of the b ...more
Kristin Runyon
I abandoned this book on page 156 of 294. I did jump ahead to read the ending to see if it would be worth my time and effort to finish the book--it is not. I explained to my hs students today that I was abandoning the book because the characters were all miserable and reading about their lives made me feel miserable. I was hoping for one last quick summer read, but Summer People was a disappointment.
The story of a young man hired as a companion/care giver to an elderly woman who is spending a final summer at her beach home in Maine, is an easy read but has some depth. The young man is realistically depicted. He reminded me of that stage of life that is self-centered, when you want to do well for someone else, but are easily distracted by your own desires.
Mom Taxi Julie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lucas Grandkoski
Overall this was a good book. I initially got it from the library because I inadvertently thought it was Elin Hilderbrands "Summer People." However the synopsis sounded good so I read it. Interestingly enough, one of the main reasons I love Elin Hilderbrands books is the setting - they all take place on Nantucket. This book by Brian Groh takes place in coastal Maine, so I was attracted to that. The actual story of the book is only so-so. I wanted to like it, but it didn't really seem to go anywh ...more
I purchased this as a bargain book from Barnes and Noble. Many of the reviews said not to waste your time. But frankly, I liked the cover (I know, I know...) I bought the book in spite of the reviews, and I'm glad I did. It wasn't the best book in the world, but it was just what I was looking for to start the summer: a light, easy read. I didn't particularly like any of the characters, but I enjoyed the story nonetheless!
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