Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Body Surfing: A Novel” as Want to Read:
Body Surfing: A Novel
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Body Surfing: A Novel

by
3.3  ·  Rating Details ·  15,740 Ratings  ·  1,617 Reviews
At the age of 29, Sydney has already been once divorced and once widowed. Trying to regain her footing, she has answered an ad to tutor the teenage daughter of a well-to-do couple as they spend a sultry summer in their oceanfront New Hampshire cottage. But when the Edwards's two grown sons, Ben and Jeff, arrive at the beach house, Sydney finds herself caught up in a destru ...more
Audio, 0 pages
Published April 24th 2007 by Little, Brown & Company (first published 2007)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Body Surfing, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Linda Who cares?
Goodreads, how can my answer be too short? It's really a yes or no question.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Nicole
Feb 26, 2008 Nicole rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 06, 2015 Christine rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 13, 2013 Margaret rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Katy
Dec 27, 2008 Katy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
dina
Aug 31, 2007 dina rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Poorly constructed, ridiculous story line and lame ending. Author seemed to make little to no effort...
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
Julie Britt
Jun 04, 2010 Julie Britt rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Barbara M
Sep 18, 2013 Barbara M rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Amy
Jan 02, 2009 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookcrossing
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
Em
Sep 06, 2012 Em rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks, borrowed
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.
Richard
Sep 04, 2015 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My second Anita Shreve. Good stuff. Well written with an identifiable with lead character.
Lynai
Feb 27, 2011 Lynai rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-a-copy
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
Diane
Jan 30, 2009 Diane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Lynn
Nov 19, 2016 Lynn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just finished this one. I really like Shreve's writing style. I like the link of body surfing and rolling along in life. We can never be sure exactly what is going on beneath the surface, can we? We trust others and are sometimes deceived. But that doesn't mean we stop trusting anyone ever again, does it? I would hope the best for Sydney after one divorce, one spousal death, and one oops!! All before the age of 30.
Maria
Feb 12, 2016 Maria rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: emprestado
Não foi um livro que me agradasse muito. A história não me desagradou mas não gostei muito da escrita. Apesar do livro ser pequeno e dividido em capítulos curtos, foi um livro que me custou um pouco terminar. Queria saber como terminava e pensei que talvez isso salvasse o livro em si mas foi completamente previsível e sem emoção
Mary
May 24, 2016 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really like Anita Shreve and this book is no exception. Her stories are true to life and her characters believable.
Lynley
Jun 07, 2011 Lynley rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american
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
Debbie
Dec 13, 2012 Debbie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one I wish that there was an option for a half star. I’d give this book 3 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 story ...more
Célia Loureiro
Nov 10, 2011 Célia Loureiro rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: meus-books-i-own
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
Karen
Jun 10, 2009 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jessica
Nov 28, 2009 Jessica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2009
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
Dee
Jul 28, 2011 Dee rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2011, women
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
Jennefer
Jun 07, 2010 Jennefer rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Erin Rogers
May 08, 2012 Erin Rogers rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Amainer
Sep 12, 2010 Amainer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Michelle
Feb 19, 2009 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
The Librarian
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
Erica
Jul 13, 2011 Erica rated it really liked it  ·  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
Lisa
Dec 14, 2009 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Madison Mega-Mara...: #92 Body Surfing by Anita Shreve 1 2 Jul 29, 2016 03:35PM  
  • The Jellyfish Season
  • Baby, It's Cold Outside
  • The Art of Faery
  • The Art of Amy Brown II
  • Joy School (Katie Nash, #2)
  • Tassajara Cooking
  • Still Summer
  • The Richest Season
  • Le Mariage
  • Fortune's Hand
  • Trust
  • Homework
  • The Letters
  • Superflirt
  • The Works Of Jane Austen (Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, Emma, Persuasion)
  • Forgive Me
  • All the Numbers
  • Living to Tell
3530
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...

Share This Book



“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.” 17 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.” 1 likes
More quotes…