Lindsay Heller's Reviews > The Summer We Read Gatsby

The Summer We Read Gatsby by Danielle Ganek
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's review
Sep 17, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 2012, chick-lit
Read from September 17 to 19, 2012

I loved this book. Loved it. I was passing a shelf one day at Half Priced Books and noticed the title. Being a Fitzgerald junkie it caught my eye, but ever since my job moved in just a couple store fronts down from the half price bookshop I try very hard to temper myself. That is, I peruse the dollar shelves, am allowed to buy anything I want, and that is it. I'd end up going broke it I did it any other way. So since this book was priced at eight dollars I decided to give it a miss. There's always such thing as the library. But then something very funny happened. My very best friend, who does not read, picked this up and recommended it to me. Well, when someone who reads that little makes it through a book and tells me to read it, I do so.

Stella Blue Cassandra Olivia Moriarty (or Cassie as she's more often know) inherits half of her Aunt Lydia's Southampton home, Fool's House, with her half sister, Pecksland. The girls couldn't be more different, now in their thirties with their shared father long dead, Peck is an over-exuberant failed actress with a wicked sense of style and a big personality, while Cassie's hippy mother raised her in Europe and she's turned into a realistic divorcee, and they have never gotten along. But they are given specific instructions; they are two spend the summer there together cleaning out her things, having parties, and getting reacquainted with their pasts and then they are to sell it. And along the way they will find something of the "utmost value". Through in a couple of romances, some very fabulous Hamptons parties, and the mysteriously missing painting and this is sure to be a summer neither of them will ever forget.

Let's just said first that, yes, this book was very predictable. Everything that you're imagining happens from that description probably does happen. At times it's almost silly because you saw it coming and the author seems to want you to be surprised. But that's okay. That phrase "getting there is half the fun"? That could be about this book, because even though you know where you're heading it's one hell of a fun ride.

The characters are the number one great thing about this book. I was initially nervous to see that it was narrated by the straight-laced sister. I shouldn't have been. Cassie is more grounded and responsible than Peck, but she's certainly not uptight. She's actually rather delightful as she does a bit of growing up after making tepid life choices. Peck is, of course, amazing. She's a little bit annoying at times but she's like that outrageous girl you know that you think it too much but you have to agree she has a great sense of style and, even if her stories are far fetched, they're always entertaining. The ancillary characters are all colorful enough to ice a cake. Hamilton, Aunt Lydia's gay friend, is hilarious, and Biggsy, the artist they discover living in the room over the garage a year after he was supposed to move out, is wildly absurd. The setting is also lush and makes you yearn for a Hamptons of days past where artists communed and it wasn't so filled with all the characters from Revenge (though we love them too).

Overall I was so charmed and entranced with this book that I couldn't put it down. The voyage was exciting and more fun than I would have expected, even if I ended up right where I expected to. And maybe that's not such a bad thing every so often.

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