Review: Summerlong


By Dean Bakopoulos
(Ecco Press, Hardcover, 9780062321169, June 2015, 368pp.)

The Short of It:

A very dark look at marriage in the midst of a midlife crisis. Heavily laced with tension but so hard to look away.

The Rest of It:

See that cover? Looking at it now, I’d say it hints at the trouble lurking between its pages but I bet a lot of readers picked this one up thinking it was a fun beach read. It is SO not that.

Nope. This one is about a marriage falling apart during a long, hot summer in Iowa. Don has a secret. His failures as a real estate agent have taken their toll and due to the insurmountable debt he’s created, he’s about to lose his home. Claire, aware of their financial troubles but not fully in the know over just how bad it’s gotten, doesn’t take the news all that well and becomes attracted to Charlie, who happens to be in town dealing with some property after his father’s death.

One evening, Don takes a walk in the neighborhood and meets a young woman who goes by the name ABC. She’s young and vibrant but grieving over a loss of her own. She’s working as a caretaker for a pot-smoking pistol of a lady who’s seen a thing or two in her day. ABC invites him in to light up and what seems totally out of character for Don, suddenly becomes a regular thing.

Don and Claire have so many issues. As parents, they find themselves so completely absorbed with their own problems, that they both end up leaving the house one night only to realize the next morning that they left their kids unattended.

Surprisingly, ABC and Charlie also have their own issues to deal with. These four people hook-up with each other, sometimes in surprising combinations but they are all searching for the same thing. Love, acceptance, redemption, peace.

I didn’t like Claire. She’s self-absorbed, bitchy and intent on being miserable. She’s one of THOSE people but sadly, I could relate to some of what she was going through. As Don tries his hardest to make things right, she continues to push him away and I wanted to slap her for it. Yeah, I guess I liked Don a lot.

I really loved this book. It’s dark because it paints such a real picture of a marriage in crisis but in between the crusty bits there’s hope, too. I love how the characters play off of one another. It’s so natural and effortless even though as a reader sometimes I caught myself thinking, “No! Don’t do it!”

Summer is typically a time for lighter, fluffier reads but not for me.  I prefer to sink my teeth into something with a little bite and this book satisfied all my wants.

Source: Sent to me by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

15 thoughts on “Review: Summerlong”

  1. Yup, Claire was bitchy, but I was still could relate to her —(now you know even more about me)LOL

    Nice review Ti

    1. I could relate to her too so now you know about me as well 😉 

      From:”Book Chatter” Date:Wed, Aug 12, 2015 at 4:52 AM Subject:[Book Chatter] Comment: “Review: Summerlong”

  2. Interesting, Ti. I’m not sure how you find these little gems, but you’ve got quite the nose for them. Not an easy subject to fictionalize… I’ll have to check it out.

  3. LOL! I can see this one making all sorts of summer beach read lists based on the title and cover alone. I, too, like a book I can sink my teeth into but for some reason I have really low tolerance for cheating–I’ve quit several popular TV shows for it. It does sound biting!!

  4. I can’t seem to dig into anything right now…I’m on a snarky, funny, kick. The cheating couple stuff bothers me too…I think it hits too close to home…not the cheating part but just midlife and working hard everyday just to hold it all together.

  5. Tried to pick it up at B&N but they didn’t have it so I Kindled it and started reading already. I always seem to love the books that you like too. This one takes off right from the start and I love that. I’m enjoying it!

  6. Ti, I am 60 pages in and not loving it. I don’t think the dialogue is realistic. It is dark – which I don’t mind – but I don’t feel that anyone is ENGAGING with each other. They are just talking at each other.

    1. True, but you don’t engage with one another when you are avoiding the truth. Did you put it aside for another book or have you finished it by now?

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