Saturday, July 17, 2010

My Summer of Southern Discomfort by Stephanie Gayle~★★1/2

Author: Stephanie Gayle
Title: My Summer of Southern Discomfort
Release Date: June 26th, 2007
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: Southern Fiction

Book Jacket: "Convicting arsonists and thieves in Macon, Georgia, was never Harvard Law grad Natalie Goldberg's dream. The pay is abysmal, the work is exhausting, and the humidity is hell for a woman with curly hair. But when a steamy romance with her high-powered New York boss went bad, Natalie jumped at the first job offered, packed her bags, and headed south. 
Natalie's leftist Yankee background brands her a conspicuous outsider in this insular community. Her father, a famous civil rights lawyer, refuses to accept her career change---or talk to her. Her best friend begs her to come back home, and Natalie keeps thinking she sees her former lover everywhere. 
But Natalie's not completely alone. There are a garden-obsessed neighbor, a former beauty queen-turned-defense lawyer, and a handsome colleague who has a nervous tic whenever she gets near. And then there's a capital case that has her eating antacids by the truckload. Yep, it's going to be one heckuva long, hot summer..." 

Taryn's Review: When conditions outside are so hot that the weather advisory tells people to stay inside, you should, but balance out the AC with a fun summer read! When I went to the library last week, I did a quick browse to find something that screamed summer fun to me. I picked up this book based on the summery-cover, as well as the fact that I love a good Southern fiction book.

I was really disappointed with this book for a long while. I debated quitting it multiple times. I felt like Gayle was over-describing some really mundane things. Part of a really good fiction book is to get images into the readers mind without having to explicitly spell them out, and at times Gayle was pouring out all this imagery without it being part of the dialogue and wasn't flowing seamlessly from the pages. 

The other issue was that the main character, Natalie, was boring and kind of a Debbie Downer. I think this book would have really benefited from a narrative switch for a few chapters so we could see Natalie from another perspective, especially since Natalie was the outsider in the community.

There were set-up scenarios that were so obvious that a blind man could have spotted them a mile away. The book felt like a very Freshman effort, especially compared to the Southern fiction books that I've read that really sweep you away. This book was very forgettable and, for me, not written from the best perspective. I myself love a good fluffy read now and then, but this book was lacking both in entertainment and character growth. Unfortunately, I'd have to recommend passing on this one.

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