Body Surfing
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Body Surfing

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3.29 of 5 stars 3.29  ·  rating details  ·  12,684 ratings  ·  1,396 reviews
The bestselling author of 'A Wedding in December' returns with a scintillating novel about a young widow torn between loving two brothers during one long New England summer.
Audio CD, Abridged, 5 pages
Published April 1st 2007 by Hachette Audio, (first published 2007)
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Nicole
I wasn't expecting much from this book, and was pleasantly surprised during the first third. Anita Shreve writes with skill, although I could have done without quite as much description of what people are wearing - especially since they change their clothes at least twice a day. But she captures the scene of a WASPy New England family summering on the coast of New Hampshire perfectly.[return]But by the last third, I started wondering whether she knew quite where she was trying to go with the dev...more
Christine
Why do I keep reading Anita Shreve? I can't explain this strange relationship I have with her characters. They are my guilty pleasure. More than the love plots (which usually involve infidelity, hmmm) and more than the character development, or lack of....it's her writing style. I love her cadence, her rythmn, and her emotional connections. One of my favorites is Fortune's Rock, which is a twisted sort of love story. But I couldn't put it down. Maybe because the book was set on the water, which...more
Margaret
Warning! Stay out of the water. It's not safe to go Body Surfing!

I've read several Anita Shreve books (Fortune's Rocks, Pilot's Wife, The Last Time They Met) none of which I call stellar but all much better than this one.

Sydner Sklar finds herself once widowed and once divorced in her late twenties. She drops out of grad school and takes a summer job as a live in tutor for the Edwards family who live on the idyllic New Hampshire shore. (And who live in the same house that pops up in many Shreve...more
Julie Britt
Spoiler alert: I didn't like this book. I didn't care about the characters, which weren't well developed, and the main character keeps making the same mistakes again and again and doesn't seem all that smart. I had to force myself to finish it. The final section seemed to have promise because I expected to see the main character in a good light, but she just went back to where she started.

The passive voice is not avoided by Anita Shreve. I kept getting irritated at that, as well as her continuo...more
Katy
If I could give 2.75 stars...... I'm going to give it 3 because I enjoy her style of writing. The book, well, it wasn't all it was hyped up to be. It kept me turning the pages even though I pretty much knew what was going to happen. My mom told me there were some pretty big twists, all which I predicted (which is disappointing-I love to be surprised!).

She didn't develop the characters as well as I would have liked. Why did Mrs. Edwards hate her so much? You can read into the fact that she and M...more
bookczuk
After having been greatly disappointed by the last couple of Anita Shreve books I've read, I was relieved that this one didn't irritate me. On the other hand, though, it didn't give me the same pleasure as her earliest books did. But it wasn't bad.

The thing that interested me the most, almost, was figuring out that the beach house in this book is the same one in The Pilot's Wife, Fortune's Rock and Sea Glass. In fact, I think the folks in this story were the owners directly after the pilot's wif...more
Smitha
Another stunner by Shreve dealing with raw human emotions and circumstances which make people behave the way they do. My favorite set up - seaside holiday house with lots of people with lots of idle time to ponder upon things and to enter into relationships. The main protagonist, a 29 year old widow is employed by a rich couple to teach their slightly retarded daughter. The book deals mainly with the interactions between the rich family and the 'governess'. I loved the book from cover to cover.
dina
Poorly constructed, ridiculous story line and lame ending. Author seemed to make little to no effort...
Diane
The setting is a beach house in New Hampshire, the summer home of the Edwards family. Sydney is hired to be the tutor for their "slow" daughter, Julie, while Mr. Edwards is an architect who enjoys his rose garden and collects historical documents on the house they're living in. It is the same house that was featured in several other Shreve novels, like "The Pilot's Wife". Mrs. Edwards strikes me as a snob and a bit of a racist with her remarks about Sydney being half-Jewish. The brothers, Ben an...more
Christie
I have been an Anita Shreve fan for several years – well, okay, decades. I read her first novel, Eden Close back in the 70s when it first came out and remember really liking it. Her novel The Pilot’s Wife was an Oprah pick and, thus, huge. But I’m partial to the quieter novels: Where or When, The Last Time They Met.

Body Surfing is the story of Sydney, a once-divorced, once-widowed woman who comes to live on the New Hampshire coast to tutor the beautiful but intellectually challenged Julie, young...more
Lynai
Despite reading criticisms, I still like the stories of Anita Shreve. A more thorough review coming up! Whew! If only I could write book reviews as fast as I can finish reading books.

******************
REVIEW UPDATE:
I have read two of Anita Shreve’s novels, the first one was The Pilot’s Wife, the story of which I can vaguely remember except that the rating I gave it on Goodreads was 4 stars, which means that I might have fairly enjoyed it. Then I keep seeing some of her books on my favorite books...more
Célia Loureiro
Este e A Praia do Destino competem como meus livros favoritos da autora Anita Shreve.
Aqui temos a jovem Sydney, primeiro viúva e depois divorciada, a apaixonar-se novamente e a integrar-se numa família. Foi precisamente o ambiente acolhedor nesta casa na praia que me deliciou durante o livro. Posteriormente, a autora tem uma forma muito própria de conduzir a história com subtileza, vi-me emergida num turbilhão de sentimentos que invadiam a personagem relativamente aos filhos da proprietária da c...more
Charlynn
Imagine being a twenty-nine year old woman, one divorced and then once widowed. It's not a very common occurrence, but it is the main character of this book - Sydney's reality. This is the stage of her life in which she finds herself when she goes to work for the Edwards family. Ostensibly to tutor their teenage daughter, Julie, so that she can pass and do well on her upcoming SAT's, Sydney goes to stay with the Edwards at their beach house in New Hampshire. There, she body surfs, meets the Edwa...more
Lynley
I didn't warm to the main character, partly because I couldn't understand why she didn't work things out earlier - because I did. Stupidity never endears me to a character. Perhaps Sydney's attention was distracted by her manic vigilance - she notices clothes, how someone breathes, the details of a room and she even deduces what other characters are probably thinking. Whether she is right - another matter entirely. I'm inclined to think a character as naive as this one makes for a fairly unrelia...more
Dee
more like one and a half...if it hadn't been a challenge book I probably would have DNF'd it...thankfully, it only cost me $4 on the hardback sale shelf at borders vice full prince...

I had many issues with it - the first being that there was wayyy to much about the authors political views showing through...I really hate it when I start to read a book and there is a section complaining about a certain section or person in the government...it seemed obvious that she also hadn't done a lot of resea...more
Karen
My library had a display that said "Beach Reads" and I thought, that's what I need after all those bible books I've been reading! So I picked this one, mostly because I'd read "Light on Snow" by the author awhile back. I have to say I was disappointed in the book, but I'm not sure if it's the book's fault or false advertising by the library. I don't know that I'd classify it as a "Beach Read". It DID take place on a beach! But I found it pretty depressing. And the author's way of writing it kind...more
Debbie
This is one I wish that there was an option for a half star. I’d give this book 3 ½ stars. This will be a brief review. This was an ok book. Anita Shreve is a talented descriptive writer. She paints a good picture of the atmosphere, the setting and the details of her characters. This is a kind of love story. A kind of story about family. I don't want to give much detail away because that's all there is. To be honest this review is hard for me because though the writing was good and once the stor...more
Amainer
I haven't read any Anita Shreve in a while. The first book of hers that I read was Sea Glass which I really enjoyed. I also enjoyed The Weight of Water and Fortune's Rocks but the rest have been somewhat of a disappointment. So I quit reading her books. I saw this book several times in the store, but never picked it up b/c books like Resistance and All He Ever Wanted were so disappointing. Then I saw this in our used bookstore and decided to give it a try. I'm so glad I did.

This book re...more
Jennefer
This is the first book I have read by Anita Shreve and I have to say I am very disappointed in this author. Some of the users of shelfari rated Shreve right up there with Jodi Picoult and that is why I borrowed this novel from a friend in the first place. Shreve doesn't compare at ALL to the likes of Picoult!!

First of all ,the writing style in this novel is extremely choppy and distracting. Second, the characters are never fully explained and or developed. I never really felt any emotion from t...more
Barbara
This book is beautifully written. Anita Shreve chooses each word carefully and I was drawn into the world she created in this story.

The novel takes place in an oceanfront cottage in New Hampshire. A well to do family has gathered for their summer vacation and Sydney is hired as a tutor to their 18 year old daughter who has special needs. A love triangle emerges as two older brothers in the family compete for Sydney's love and attention. There are a number of twists and turns in the story which m...more
Erin Rogers
Meh. Full discloser: I have never read a single other Anita Shreve book, and so I don't have the love for her as an author that so many other goodreaders seem to share. My first experience with her work was just okay. I saw the description "beach read" in another review, and I think that reflects my feelings towards Body Surfing. It's a half romance-half soap opera starring the WASP-y Edwards family and set in their New England beach house. Sydney, a once-divorced, once-widowed young woman, come...more
Jessica
I was initially turned off by the prose-like style of writing. The sentence structure is not that of a typical novel and it threw me for a loop. I did acclimate to it after a few chapters, and for the most part it no longer bothered me and I could focus on the storyline.

The storyline: the story about Sydney, nearing 30, once divorced, once widowed, could have actually been pretty good had the characters been deeper. In my opinion, there was very little character development and I felt very littl...more
São Palma
Na realidade, são 2 estrelas e meia, mas que não chegam para, na prática, atribuir as 3, acima de tudo tendo em conta outras obras a que atribui 3 e de que gostei mais. Desde o início que achava que não poderia atribuir mais de 2... Aquelas primeiras 100 ou 150 páginas foram uma seca autêntica. Porém, a partir de uma certa altura, comecei a entusiasmar-me cada vez mais... Cheguei a ponderar dar as 3 estrelas como significado de 3 e meia... Mas o final foi um "What????" (isto para não acrescentar...more
Erica
Jul 13, 2011 Erica rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anita Shreve fans
There are certain authors who make me feel like I'm coming home in a way when I start another of their books. Anita Shreve is one of them. This book certainly made me feel that way, and I really enjoyed it. In fact, if you have read some of Anita Shreve's other books, it may interest you that the beach house in this novel is the same house that appeared in Fortune's Rocks, Sea Glass, and The Pilot's Wife. Nevertheless, only one thing kept me from giving Body Surfing 5 stars - the ending. I felt...more
Tina
This was my first Anita Shreve novel, and, unfortunately, it left me with more questions than answers. Why did such a strong rivalry develop between the brothers? Why did the mother hate Sydney so much? Etc. I found Sydney's character really frustrating, particularly the way she treated the father after the wedding fiasco.

However, although the characters lacked development, I liked Shreve's thorough setting descriptions. It brought to life for me a part of the country I have yet to visit, and ma...more
Michelle
Anita Shreve always puts together a good story and I thoroughly enjoyed this. A 29 year old woman (once divorced, once widowed) goes to a wealthy family's summer home to tutor their teenage daughter. Both the story and the crisp prose gripped me and I was immediately drawn into the protagonist's story. I had a few quibbles with the book, like I thought the body surfing metaphor was somewhat lame and at the very, very end there is a "revelation" that seemed pretty obvious from the get-go. Nonethe...more
Celeste Quarnberg
After seeing so many great reviews for Anita Shreve books, I decided to give this one a try. Maybe I picked the wrong book to start with but I was not impressed. I felt like the plot had potential but I couldn't get into the characters. Also, there were a few outlandish parts of the book that I just didn't buy into. It is obvious that Shreve is not a runner and didn't do adequate research on running in the Boston Marathon. Granted, it was just a side note, but she says that Sydney decided to run...more
Maria Goodin
I speed-read the final six or seven pages, and it wasn't because I simply couldn't wait to find out the ending. I was just bored. Not so bored I didn't want to get to the end, but bored enough to just want it over and done with. And yet, strangely, I probably would give Anita Shreve another go, especially after reading a few reviews suggesting this isn't her best work. I liked the atmosphere of the book; the beach, the sea, the old house...but the plot was really odd, not to mention dull. The ma...more
Lisa
This book really captured the feeling of shock when something you are so sure about turns around to BITE you! I loved the main characters in the book, they were so wonderfully constructed and real at the same time. I could almost relate them directly to people I have in my life. The descriptions of body surfing are so realistic, clearly Anita Shreve has done her research or either spent some time out there in the waves. Thanks to Erin for recommending this book to me!
Claudia
Aug 03, 2008 Claudia rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Claudia by: I cannot for the life of me remember!!
Sydney is spending the summer with the Edwards, at their beach house in N.H., tutoring their beautiful but dim daughter...Sydney brings lots of baggage to her job -- child of a broken marriage, one divorce, one dead husband. She wants to belong someplace...and the Edwards family shows her the best and the worst of an American family. Body surfing is a wonderful metaphor for taking risks, for being observant, for knowing when to give over control.
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Anita Shreve grew up in Dedham, Massachusetts (just outside Boston), the eldest of three daughters. Early literary influences include having read Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton when she was a junior in high school (a short novel she still claims as one of her favorites) and everything Eugene O'Neill ever wrote while she was a senior (to which she attributes a somewhat dark streak in her own work). A...more
More about Anita Shreve...
The Pilot's Wife Fortune's Rocks Light on Snow Testimony The Weight of Water

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“Sydney discovers that she minds the loss of her mourning. When she grieved, she felt herself to be intimately connected to Daniel. But with each passing day, he floats away from her. When she thinks about him now, it is more as a lost possibility than as a man. She has forgotten his breath, his musculature.” 12 likes
“kind of necessary acceptance will form around her, like a lobster making its new shell, one that will be soft and easily breakable in the beginning but so hard that only lobster crackers can shatter it in the end. She can hardly wait.” 0 likes
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