Apr 27, 11
Read on April 18, 2011
What is it about family drama that speaks to us all so deeply? I know why it effects me. As an only child, peace and quiet was the norm for my household. I craved the hug of an older sister or the pranks of a younger brother. Craved anything. Any new and exciting family dynamic.
So I wonder - is drama essential in a large family? Is it inevitable? I have recently been privy to some of the drama of my Dad's large yet scattered family. While I yearn to know what it is like to feel the comradery of siblings, I don't wish for the intensity that comes along with the heated arguments.
Does drama just come with the territory? Is it all worth it?
Invincible Summer explores some of these questions. The massive cast is introduced quickly and all at once in the beginning, which leads to a rather difficult time of sorting everyone out. Once you advance in the story, it becomes much easier and you can even determine who's speaking without needing to be told. Every character is unique and well-defined.
The only rather annoying quirk was how often the dialogue involved quotes by the family's favorite author, Albert Camus. Clearly, the author's writing and his quotes are lovely, but I didn't find it quite believable that 15 to 18 year old boys would actually quote anyone that often.
Beautifully and simply told from the perspective of a young man named Chase over the course of several summers. Starting with the age of fifteen up until eighteen, he struggles through the birth of a new baby, the trials of having a deaf brother, and the complexities of girls. He deeply experiences doubts, regrets, and loss. But he also experiences love.
All this tension is heightened by the presense and, even more often, by the absense of his best friend and older brother, Noah. The story doesn't presume to be all that funny or highly suspenseful, but it can entrap you all the same.
The cover of this book is entirely misleading. It is no sunny romp on the beach. There is a love triangle that doesn't feel like a love triangle. There is grit, sand, and sea, but mostly there is sex, anger, and angst. It is emotional in a completely raw and realistic fashion.
This book is about how the love of a family is simple, yet endlessly complicated. The complicated part is figuring out why you love them. The simple part is that you do.
Thanks to Simon and Schuster for allowing me to read this as an ARC!!
Content warning: Heavy language and some sexual content.