Sovotchka's Reviews > The Summer Book

The Summer Book by Tove Jansson
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's review
Sep 20, 2015

really liked it
bookshelves: reviewstatus-reviewed, region-europe, read-and-gave-away
Read from January 31 to February 08, 2012

"The Summer Book" by Tove Jansson, telling about a grandchilds' and a grandmothers' summer vacations on their island, is praised as one of Scandinavia's modern classics, and it is easy to see why.
The novel brings a typical quiet Scandinavian summer to life; just the type of "still-holiday-but-also-something-else-entirely" that I remember having with my family when I was younger.

The chapters are quite short (ten pages at most I think), and one doesn't need to read them all in one go, which makes this book perfect for taking it along on such a holiday, or for reading out loud.

The changes coming to the island, by ways of the granddaughter growing up, the grandmother growing old, or just intruding from the outside world, are very subtle, but still noticeable. Especially when things are destroyed or one of the two feels lost or alone, the emotions are very strong.
Despite this, I missed a growing understanding between the grandchild and the grandmother, perhaps because I felt the book ended a bit too early, or because I felt the connection was already there in one of the first chapters, and I didn't see the need for anything else.

In any case, I'd recommend this to just about anyone (despite those who seek "action" ;)). Lovely book in between. :).
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue Thanks for the nice review. I have this on my list to read for the challenge also and I'm glad I do.

message 2: by Judy (new) - added it

Judy This on my challenge TBR also.

Sovotchka You will enjoy it :). If you know Scandinavia at least a bit, this brings back memories.
(Can't comment on what it's like if you don't ;). But I imagine you'll get a great idea about it and want to travel there in the summer!)

message 4: by Judy (new) - added it

Judy I've never been to Europe, so this sounds like the kind of book I was aiming for. :-)

message 5: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue I haven't been there, only as far as England in Europe but I've seen others' travel pictures and am looking forward to the reading experience.

Anne I thought that this was a really lovely book. What I loved most was the grandmother's sensitivity toward her granddaughter whose mother had just died. That's really not a spoiler - you learn that on page 1 or 2. Then the matter is dropped throughout the book - never mentioned again, but I think it would have been a different story without that background.

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