ARC Review: That Summer by Jennifer Weiner

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ARC Review: That Summer by Jennifer Weiner
That Summer
Book Info

Released: May 11th 2021
Genre: Womens Fiction
Pages: 432

“It’s rare that you find a book that has aspects of a drama and a thriller that also tackles heavy, serious subjects, but Weiner succeeds!”

~ Under the Covers

That Summer is the story of Diana and Diana (also known as Daisy). Daisy, renamed by her husband Hal, lives a seemingly idyllic suburban life. Hal is a partner at a law firm and Daisy has a small business teaching others how to cook. Daisy has a teenage daughter, Beatrice, who is headstrong and creative, starting an Esty business with the crafts she makes. However, due to an email mix-up, Daisy ends up receiving some of Diana’s emails. Diana appears to be a sophisticated executive, her emails depicting a life of business dinners and a glamorous, independent lifestyle. However, both women are struggling with the decisions of their past, which may be more similar than they appear to be.

I would highly recommend That Summer. Weiner manages to explore very serious topics (rape, toxic masculinity) while still making the book feel like a compelling, entertaining summer read.

The women in the book are written to be strong, resilient, and, above all, survivors. By the end of the book, each of the women face their fears, challenge traditional masculine systems and ideals, find their own voices, and overcome the demons of their past. I loved how it was truly a book of women supporting women. It’s not obvious at first, but Weiner definitely makes clear that women are stronger together & shows what happens when women choose to be there, get behind, and believe in one another.
Wiener also excels at depicting the emotions of an abuse survivor. Through her characters, Weiner conveys the different forms abuse can take, and that confronting their abuser takes many different forms. Weiner shows that the mindset is not one of “revenge or nothing”. Weiner demonstrates that the emotions are more complex than that—ever changing & very nuanced, which i don’t think is a perspective that is widely known or conveyed.

There were two things that ultimately kept this from being a five-star read for me. The first is that it started a bit slow for me. The exposition and character introduction were definitely interesting, detailed, and thought-out. However, I couldn’t help but thinking, “where is this going” at times. But trust me when I say, you MUST keep reading. The book gets very compelling very quickly, and by the end I was reading faster than I could turn pages. The second aspect that didn’t work for me was the narration style. Weiner chose third-person narration that alternates between Beatrice, Diana, and Daisy. However, the narration also alternates time periods. The narration takes the reader through the pasts of each character, but it’s mixed in with the present. This wasn’t detrimental to the story, and ultimately was a great way of telling this story. However, there were times where I had to stop reading, remind myself of the character, and reorient myself within the context of the story.

Those two points are just two specific aspects that didn’t work for me personally. I think this is a great summer read that is not only entertaining but also considers serious concepts, making the reader reflect on questions of revenge, masculinity, assault, and confrontation. It’s rare that you find a book that has aspects of a drama and a thriller that also tackles heavy, serious subjects, but Weiner succeeds! I look forward to reading more of Weiner’s prior work and anything she writes going forward.

What did you think of our review?
Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!

About Jennifer Weiner

Jennifer Weiner is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of seventeen books, including Good in BedIn Her Shoes, and, most recently, Mrs. Everything. Her new novel, Big Summer, is out now. A graduate of Princeton University and contributor to the New York Times Opinion section, she lives with her family in Philadelphia.

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