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Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Summer We Read Gatsby by Danielle Ganek~★★

Author: Danielle Ganek
Title: The Summer We Read Gatsby
Release Date: May 27th, 2010
Publisher: Viking Adult
Genre: Fiction

Book Jacket: "Cassie is a serious journalist with her feet firmly planted on the ground; Peck is a vintage-obsessed actress with her head in the clouds. In fact, the only thing the Moriarty sisters seem to have in common is their inheritance of Fool's House, a ramshackle cottage left to them by their beloved Aunt Lydia.
Equipped with only a flimsy will, the advice of a few neighbors, and Aunt Lydia's instruction that they 'seek a thing of utmost value' within the cottage, the girls must resolve not only what to do with Fool's House but also their disparate notions of what makes a family and how to respect their sisterly differences. 
Set in the end-of-an-era summer of 2009, The Summer We Read Gatsby is filled with fabulous parties, romantic entanglement, and a cast of eccentric characters. As she did in Lulu Meets God and Doubts Him, Ganek, with her pitch-perfect sense of style and wit, indulges our secret desire to peek into a rarefied world in this lively and mischievous romp through one of Long Island's most famous neighborhoods."

Taryn's Review: Again, I was intoxicated the by summery title and picture on this book cover. It seduced me and before I knew it, the book was in the bag. Unfortunately, my selection of summer books keeps letting me down thus far.

When I began this book, I was confused as to where exactly this book took place. As someone who has never lived in New York and knows very little about New York/Hamptons, I was lost and Ganek didn't make it clear regarding the area she was talking about. With Cassie being called a foreigner in the beginning of the book and then all the talk of Southampton and such, I wasn't sure if the book's plot was taking place in England and Peck was referring to America and NYC because she loved them, or if the book was taking place in the U.S. and the Hamptons was short for very British sounding town names (again, let me stress I am super naive when it comes to anything East Coast related). I felt like Ganek made the assumption I should know this, which I didn't, and I know a lot of people who also would have no clue.

The book was slow and had a very thinly veiled plot. I think if you're an avid reader, you will immediately suspect the person behind the "mystery" that occurred. Also, the idea of the aunt wanting strained sisters to find something of the "utmost value" in her house while requiring them to live there for a month? Who really believes this referred to an object?

Cassie was a very dull protagonist. Peck may have been dramatic and flamboyant, but at least she captured my attention. Love was also a oddity in this book. Cassie apparently had an admirer for years who swooned from a quiet distance and then proclaimed his love after one awful date and one good date. Peck mythologized her romantic relationship with a man, but seemed to have the desire to rekindle the flame once she realized how much money he had, despite his lies to her.

I loved The Great Gatsby. I don't find this book did The Great Gatsby much justice as far as homages go. I don't even want to attempt to draw parallels because I think that would be insulting to Fitzgerald. Find yourself a better summer read, as there are many out there. I don't think I would read another Ganek book; her writing wasn't that strong nor did her story sweep me into the dreamy book world we all desire when we start reading a new book. I hate to be harsh, but I was really disappointed in this one.

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