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52 Books in 52 Weeks: The Summer We Read Gatsby

Welcome back bookworms! It was a great summer, but I personally am glad to be back in the land of responsibility and sweater weather. If asked how many of my 52 books I read this summer, I would have to say a big goose egg (though maybe the pages of all the books I started could add up to a Dr. Seuss story). I’m back this week though, with Danielle Ganek’s The Summer We Read Gatsby. 

As far as comparisons go, any parallels between The Summer We Read Gatsby and The Great Gatsby end with the title – this is pretty much a shameless beach read. The two main characters, a pair of half-sisters who have inherited a house on the Hamptons from their kooky maiden aunt, are ones you probably recognize: Pecksland (“Peck”) is a 32-year-old self-proclaimed “glamorous eccentric” who says things like, “A literary fetish is the new black.” And Cassie, our protagonist, is a recently divorced 28-year-old writer who can’t seem to move on from her failed marriage.

Of course, these two young women cannot actually afford their beach house—though Peck’s attempt to convince Cassie otherwise is one of the main preoccupations of the novel. This dilemma is where Ganek goes wrong: her veiled references to economic disaster don’t exactly mesh well with her depictions of excessive wealth in Southampton. Ultimatley, while these sisters’ stories of attending fancy parties and being pursued by wealthy men are actually really engrossing, they are offset by Ganek’s odd inclusion of their not-quite-convincing economic troubles.

 

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