Jennifer Weiner’s That Summer takes us back to Cape Cod, delivers a whole new experience
I loved reading That Summer by Jennifer Weiner, but I have to admit it was not the book that I expected. As soon as I started reading about the summer in Cape Cod, I thought this book would have a similar feel to her previous novel, Big Summer, which came out last summer and is also set on the same beach town. Although there’s a quick nod to its predecessor, this novel is a completely different experience.
This is where I have to give you a spoiler because I think it’s an important content warning that is not mentioned or even alluded to in the book blurb. At its core, this story is about a sexual assault, and the ripple effect it has for decades to come. I will also add that the story includes a mention of suicide. I would’ve appreciated knowing this before I started reading the book.
Now that we got that out of the way…
That Summer is told from the perspective of three female characters. Daisy, a talented cooking aficionado who has some regrets about dropping out of college and getting married young. Beatrice, her strong-willed and eccentric teenaged daughter. And lastly, Diana, a glamorous city woman who befriends Daisy after they connect as a result of an email typo.
Their emotionally captivating story jumps through time and locations, taking you from the suburbs of Philadelphia to New York City and to Cape Cod, which is the town at the heart of their connection.
Jennifer Weiner’s descriptions of settings, thoughts, and emotions are beautiful and masterful
As fans of Jennifer Weiner will expect, the book is full of charming and detailed descriptions, including mouthwatering culinary creations. It’s also is an ode to the importance of women’s friendships and a journey through the messiness of human relationships.
However, contrary to how others describe it, That Summer by Jennifer Weiner is not a beach read, and I resent it being called that. My experience reading this book was much deeper and meaningful than I would ever expect of a beach read. The story is engaging and heavy, and the characters are complicated and raw.
That Summer is a multiperspective and thoughtful look at the role that men and women are “assigned” in society and the consequences of those dynamics; an acknowledgment that undoubtedly the #MeToo movement has been an encouraging force behind women stepping out of the roles that don’t serve them; and an honest look at how far women still are from reaching gender equality.