Sarah Yoffa's Reviews > Twenty Boy Summer

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
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's review
Feb 25, 2011

really liked it
Recommended for: teenage girls or women who "loved and lost " when they were a teen
Read in November, 2010 , read count: 2

I read this one - twice - and had a completely different experience each time. I've heard Lois McMaster Bujold insist that a Reader is an author's Collaborator, changing a story based on where they are in their own lives whenever they arrive at the page, but I never quite understood that idea. Now I do.

Oddly enough, I don't think it was where I was in my life that altered my reading of this book the second time, but rather, my willingness, the second time through, to remember my life when I was "Anna" - or not her, exactly, but having my first love as a pre-teen ... and then having him die suddenly, unexpectedly, out of my control, without any recourse and worst of all, leaving me with NO ONE to talk to about my feelings. My family didn't even know he existed in my life. His family blamed me and refused to acknowledge MY existence. And then my father died, overshadowing everything and everyone.

I carried my lost love grief around for the next 40 years and now, as a grown woman in middle age, Sarah's amazingly vibrant depiction of the feelings plucked every one of my heart strings. I sobbed the tears of grief at 50 that I'd never been allowed to shed at 12. Thank you, Sarah, for opening up that locked treasure chest I hadn't realized I'd buried all these years. Getting past the hurt, I found all of the love again :) That made it all worth it. Maybe in another year I'll read this a third time and see what treasures it uncovers in my heart then.

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