I grew up reading Judy Blume’s children books. I loved her writing and must have read Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret a dozen times. I’ve even read a few of her adult books, but then I stumbled upon the following review of her adult novel, Summer Sisters. I had never heard of it but was surprised to see it on my bookshelf. I had apparently acquired it from someone but hadn’t had the chance to read it, let alone notice the author.
After reading the above mentioned review, I HAD to read it. Why? Because of the following line: “oh my goodness, I didn’t know you could pack that much sex into so few pages.” I had this vision of a 150 page book with sex from cover to cover. I have to admit that I was more than a bit surprised to see that the book is nearly 400 pages, and neither girl has sex until half way through those pages.
Is the sex explicit? Not by any means, so it amazes me that this reviewer, along with others, feels that too much sex is in the story. In actuality, there is very little sex. Most of what goes on is foreplay that is described, but with very little detail. The sex is almost always behind closed doors, which is more than a bit disappointing to a reader who wants to read every juicy little detail. Maybe I am a bit biased after reading and enjoying erotica, but this was tame stuff.
True, it was a bit weird how these girls experimented with sex on each other, but I seem to recall playing doctor with my friends more than once during childhood. With that said, I expected more from this book, which follows an 18 year friendship between two women who met when they were 12 years old. The ending was more than a bit disturbing, since there should have and could have been a better one.
While all emotions are played out in the story, the main character somehow remains pretty detached throughout. Even when she cries hysterically, the reader can’t really feel her pain. Victoria acted more like an emotionless robot than a caring woman, who finally finds herself at the end, only to feel adrift by the happenings of those around her.
Probably the most distracting aspect of the story was how Blume switched the narrative. Most of the novel is told from the main character’s perspective. Instead of the normal switching of perspectives, Blume starts a new chapter with the name of the character at the start. Most of the time, these thoughts were unnecessary and interrupted the flow of the story. A better way could have been chosen to write those scenes.
Summer Sisters is an interesting read, even with its faults. Blume still has her creativity, and I applaud her attempt at writing a more adult oriented book. Hopefully her next one will be better.