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am 9. Juni 2000
The writing style of Judy Blume allows the in-depth analysis of every character introduced in Summer Sisters. Because the book is mainly in the point of view of the main character, Vix, it is more intriguing not only to learn about her feelings, but also of those around her. I could vividly see every character in detail. Blume exactly depicts the pros and cons of being in a friendship or relationship with all the good times and all the bad. She has the power to captivate her audience because she is so real and is able to portray her characters as if it were reality. This is very important to me in selling the book to the reader. Friendship, the most evident theme of this book, shows the types of friendships every person encounters in their lives. Usually I prefer suspense and mystery books because they have the power to grab my interest to the point of having to turn the next page before putting it down. But this book, a tale of friendship, love, and loss, also has the power to allow the reader to take an active role in the emotions and actions of the characters. The constant heartbreaks Vix encounters has the power to break your heart, triggering aspects of your life that somehow tie in with the book. This book correctly demostrates the definition of friendship, but also shows how to cope when your best friend betrys you or your boyfriend breaks up with you. It is a pleasure to read, but also a learning experience that correlates to life for every person who reads it. This book is especially powerful to teenagers because most have these friendships and have these squirmishes over boys. It has a power over a younger auidience because it relates to life just as you're living it from day tp day. Teens always have that one best friend who always breaks their heart or that one boy they love so much that they would give anything up to be with them. The book is tennage life, and it helps to realize that's how life is for every teen.
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am 7. Juni 2000
There is no better time than now to read Judy Blume's third novel for adults, Summer Sisters. This book will take you back to your own childhood summers and will remind you how strong the bond of friendship can be.
The two main characters, Caitlin Somers and Victoria Leonard, stand out for their differences as two young friends in Summer Sisters. Caitlin is outgoing, wild, and outspoken. Victoria (Vix, for short) is reserved and thoughtful, but strong. As they mature, their differences push Caitlin and Vix apart, but their bond as summer sisters is never completely broken.
The two first become summer sisters when Caitlin invites Vix to her summer home on Martha's Vinyard. It is here each summer the two struggle with becoming women, learn about sex, and find out the truth about love. They discover that life does not come one emotion at a time. The novel follows the two women through adolescence into adulthood. After graduating from high school together, Vix goes to Harvard and Caitlin decides she wants to see the world. As the two take different paths, they are slowly pulled apart, drawn together again only by Martha's Vinyard and their vow to stay summer sisters forever.
One of the elements that makes Blume's story such a powerful read is the reality she creates. Her characters and each of the trials and emotions they face are very real. Their experiences with love and loss are believable. You can also see yourself or people you know in Caitlin and Vix. The background characters are well-developed, and they create and enrich the family issues that surround the main characters. One very interesting element Blume uses is that the story is not told only by one narrator. The points of view of many of the characters are revealed.
Summer Sisters is a story that will play with your emotions and leave you wanting to know more. It is for anyone who has known the power of the bond of friendship
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am 17. Dezember 1999
People who read Summer Sisters will notice that this is a book about life and how faith brought these two girls together. Blume who is known for witing children stories decided to write this book and couple of others mainly about life. I think about anyone can relate to one of their closest friends. While you read this you will probably find yourself laughing because of this funny things you forgot you did. This is a story about two girls whose names are Caitlin and Victoria (Vix). Caitlin is a new girl whose parents gets dicorved and moves to Vix's school. She becomes the popuarlist girl in school and everyone wants to becomes her friend. Vix is very quiet and timid and is catch by suprise when Caitlin asks her to go spend the summer with her at her fathers's Vineyard. Vix agrees and the book talks about their expierences they go through and how they become summer sisters. Vix goes back every summer after that until they grow into adults. Blume does a good job at coming out showing her metaphors. Which is that everyone has a friend and shares memories throughout their lives that they will never forget and be able to cherish those memories forever. Also, friends are always there for you for when you fall into your deepest holes or when you reach the top of the mountains. They are always there to give you a shoulder to cry on and help you make the best descisons possible. Everyone learns throughout this story how precious friends are and you can never live without them. Blume uses beautiful vivid imagery and when I read this story I felt like I was the person living in the moment. She really gives you a vivid idea to what each of the characters were feeling and what was going through their minds. She really knows how to paint the perfect picture in the readers mind so they makes sure to pay attention to the smallest details. "In Venice, Caitlin meetsher at the train station. Caitlin is all in white, her hair tucked inside her white-brimmed straw hat. She's wearing huge designer shadesand is carrying a second hat for Vix, who's bolining in a blue denim maternity dress." "She sat back and worshiped from afar as the others fought over who would get to be her partner, who would share desks with her... Want to come away with me this summer? Vix was wearing worn bell-bottom and a jucie stained purple T-shirt, her dark hiar pulled back into a sloppy ponytail." Blme did a very good job at making her characters very quirky especially Caitlin. She made her to be very outgoing carefree and totally opposite of Vix. Caitlin never set her mind on anything to long. Instead of going to college like Vix she went on a tour to travel the world. Never took on any reponsibilties and whenever she wanted someone come visit her she would send a letter with a ticket like, "Celebrate the Big Three-O With Me!" Vix is the total opposite who like to go to Harvard and lead a regular life. It become apparent throughout this book that both girls are total opposites but still manage to stay best friends. This book I would recommend to mostly women because there is no way that men could relate to this book. I think young teenager girls would enjoy reading this because this would be a good lesson on friendship and teach them a lot about life and the things they might expierence later in life. The plot is not difficult to follow at all and it has been one of The Nre York Times BestSeller for several months. I would also recommend setting aside enough time dto read the entire book once you start because you will not be able put it down.
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am 11. Juli 1999
I am glad to see there are many others who feel this book is a waste of good wood pulp and I'm encouraged to find that there are still other discriminating people who insist on substance in a novel, even if it is a "summer read".
I would like to mention a couple of observations myself though. In this book....
1) Judy continuously builds sexual tension (I want I shouldn't...I want I shouldn't) only to blow off the decision, and the moment, by having the character "wake up in the morning" after it's all over. It's cheating the reader and taking the "easy way out"!
2) There are many, many characters in this book who are nothing but "page fillers".
It's as if the publishing company told the author "Look, Judy, you have a short story here, a book needs to be at least 400 pages". Thus enter Lanie, Lewis, Sharkey, Daniel, Dorset, Trisha, the Countess and the anti-Semitic Grandmother Somers. All "nothing" characters with "nothing" to say, but with a proper type-setting the paperback meanders on to page 399!
3) Besides those majorly useless characters there are the "parental units" who are supposed to have influence over, and set limits on, Vix and Caitlin and what are they doing? Again nothing!
I'm talking about Ed, Tawny & Phoebe. There they are, jet-setting around the world wearing southwestern jewelry or sitting in the corner, on their private "pity pot", while these girls grow up without morals or guidance.
Abby is the only one who seems to take an interest, so naturally she's to be dispised by Caitlin.
4) And then there's poor Maizie, what was that for? I guess without Maizie, you'd only hit page 390!
5) Finally, I just want to say I am always disappointed when a book promotes misinformation and allows people to "file away" facts which are untrue.
Page 331 of the paperback has our Harvard graduate telling Phoebe "High in cholesterol, Avocados, that is." So much for higher education!
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am 9. Juni 1999
This is the first time in 9 years I've read a Judy Blume book, and I found her adult novel Summer Sisters just as enjoyable as I found her pre-teen classics years ago. The story may not have changed my life, but it did its job: it entertained me and kept me wanting to read more. When I wasn't reading the book, all I could think about was reading more of it, so I highly recommend this as a "single sitting book". However, I wish some of the characters were developed more. I know 400 pages is too short to develop everyone, but I wouldn't mind. Also, I found one or two more of the mature scenes unecessary to the plot and character development. Blume could have retained these trivial scenes and developed certain characters by adding more circumstantial descriptions (character thoughts, motivation [ie. what was behind this character's behavior], etc, etc) instead of merely describing motions and piddly thoughts. Some of the transitions were a little awkward (huge gaps in time) that made it seem like the fast forward button was being pressed throughout the last few chapters. The ending left me hanging and thinking "is this it?!" but uncertainties leave more for the imagination. I read previous sour reviews to this book, but I guess each person has a right to his or her own opinion. I will comment on this book as the 19 year old college female I am. I personally recommend this to anyone looking for an entertaining book that doesn't require intense analyzation. So maybe this book doesn't constitute "great literature" for hard core book readers. I don't have the intellect or patience to intensely pour over and dissect entries and how they relate to social attitudes of the time, how the book reflects the author's view of life, or inner meanings. I just want to read something for the sake of being entertained. The book left me thinking without forcing me to. Basically I thought it was one of the best books I've read so far. I may not read as often as I did before, but I don't see too many books beating this one out for me personally in ease of reading and entertainment value. I recommend this for ages 16+. The actual reading itself is not difficult, but I think the material is much more geared towards older readers. I am glad I read this at the age I did as I do not think I would have appreciated it as much if I even read it when I was 16 or 17.
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am 26. Mai 1999
There is no picture of summer life more complete and innocent than the one described in Judy Blume's latest adult novel, Summer Sisters. This is a wonderful reading experience for anyone who loves to sit back and enjoy the pleasures of childhood, or relive the romance of first love, the secrets of friendship, and the mysteries of life. This novel follows the friendship and discoveries of two girls from very different families, taking place on Martha's Vineyard every summer since they were ten years old. Vix is a shy, timid girl from a relatively poor family. Caitlin is the new girl in school. Bright, beautiful, and bursting with energy, Caitlin quickly wins the heart of everyone she meets. At the end of the school year, Caitlin always asks someone to spend the summer at her father's home on the Vineyard, and it is always a big contest to see who she will pick. So, you can imagine Vix's surprise when Caitlin invites HER to join her for the summer. What an adventure! , is all that keeps running through Vix's mind. She can't believe that someone like Caitlin would ask her to come to the Vineyard! It takes a little work to convince her parents, who are very skeptical of the ways of the rich, to let her go, but they agree just the same. So, off they go into what becomes the start of the strangest...and most beautiful...of friendships. Follow Caitlin and Vix as they experience life for the first time-and then do it all over again. You'll find that, through the years, both of these unusual characters will become more like each other, each one taking on characteristics that you would have thought only the other could possess. It is very interesting to see where they eventually end up...and with whom. Judy Blume has an amazing gift for reliving childhood stories and special moments in her life as though they are happening for the first time. This book is a classic example of how the experiences of the author can directly influence the story. The most satisfying component of this novel is that Blume does not keep anything from the reader. She tells of the mixed-up lived of these two lost souls with a fresh, raw style that is rare in many authors today. She is truly a woman who knows how to convey to the reader the thoughts and feelings of each individual character, without missing a beat. She is able to take us on the ride of a lifetime, with a lot of little stops along the way. As in her previous novels for both adults and children, Blume leads you to believe that everything is going be alright, and then shows you that nothing is what it seems. Growing up never is. Overall, Summer Sisters, is a unique tale of life as we know it--unforgettable.
By. Sara Candela
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am 18. März 1999
What in the world happened here? Did somebody kidnap Judy Blume and take her hostage while some imposter churned out this trite, banal, utterly forgettable story? I'd like to think that was the case, given the fact that Judy Blume was one of my all-time favorite childhood authors. After all, this is the same woman who wrote "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret" and "Then Again, Maybe I Won't". Granted, Judy's adult novels were never of the same caliber as her children's books, but at least they occasionally managed to rise to the level of entertainment. Unfortunately, "Summer Sisters" doesn't even live up to that small concession. All right, so even great authors have their off days, and Blume has stumbled in the past before with clunkers like "Iggie's House" and "Forever", but never before have any of her novels been so long, so convoluted, so simplistically written and so BORING all at the same time. Initially, I was willing to give Judy some slack since, as I mentioned before, she DOES have a talent for storytelling--in children's books. Therefore, I was willing to overlook the moldy, way tumultuous summers and their friendship goes through many changes" blah blah blah. I was willing to overlook the constant, annoying references to songs and topical events that are supposed to remind readers of what year they're in. (This in itself is a bad sign, since Blume's best novels have a timeless quality, but never mind.) I was even willing to ignore the fact that Judy occasionally got her timelines wrong (for instance, she makes a reference to "90210" long before the show made its debut). However, there are only so many annoyances I will put up with in a single book, and "Summer Sisters" is chock-full of them.
At the top of my list of peeves is the plot. As the story begins, Victoria "Vix" Leonard, a quiet girl who keeps her innermost thoughts and feelings to herself, is an elementary school student in New Mexico. She is approached out of the blue one day by Caitlin Somers, the daring, sophisticated new girl who's the instant hit of the school. Even though the girls are nearly strangers to each other, Caitlin has singled out Vix to fly out to Nantucket with her as her guest for the entire summer (Plot Contrivance #1). Vix's parents agree to let Vix go on this all-expense paid trip, even though Vix's mother is obsessed with social class differences, and neither she nor Vix's dad have ever met Caitlin's father, who will be the girls' guardian for the summer (Plot Contrivance #2). At first, Vix and Caitlin have very little in common, but before you can say "The Power", they soon become intimate friends in every sense of the word (Plot Contrivance #3). For some reason, Caitlin's family is so enamored of silent, nearly uncommunicative Vix that they continue to fly her in every summer, at their expense, even when Caitlin's not there(!), and proceed to pay for Vix's private school tuition, and sponsor her scholarship to Harvard, etc. etc. (Plot Contrivances #4, #5, #6, and I lost track after #10).
To make matters worse, Vix and Caitlin have less depth than the paper they're written on and are not so much characters as cliches. Caitlin, the rich, frivolous, "bad" girl, is supposed to be a vulnerable, waif-ish creature underneath her devilish antics, but I didn't see it; frankly, she came off as nothing more than a spoiled, obnoxious twit. Vix, the serious, working-class "nice" girl, comes off as bland and listless; apparently Blume decided that "character development" in this novel would be limited to physical attributes. Which brings us to the next peeve. Almost every line of dialogue, with few exceptions, consists of sexual comments, sexual come-ons, or childish, smutty sex jokes. In "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret", Margaret and her friends exhibited a normal, healthy curiosity about puberty and sex; in "Summer Sisters", the curiosity is transformed into a pathological obsession. Unfortunately, it's not even exciting enough to be sexy in a sleazy way; it's boring, monotonous, and an obvious attempt to cash in on the pre-teen audience, so they can underline the key passages in Blume's latest "naughty" book. In that sense, the story is in much the same mold as "Forever". Bear in mind, though, that even "Forever" had 1 or 2 redeeming qualities that detail, and it was mercifully short compared to this 400-page yawner.
Another problem with the book is that it's densely populated with characters who are so sketchy that they make Vix and Caitlin look like a Renoir. One of these characters dies, but Blume doesn't allow the reader to get to know this character; therefore, no emotion is involved. The girls and their families go through their required "changes", but again, who cares? Certainly not me, and believe me, I tried. Even characters who are supposed to be "important", like Bru, are simply described as "tan" and "sinewy" with "dark eyes". How is it possible for anyone to care about this character, or to feel heartbroken for the girl who pines over him? Blume's most annoying habit is changing "voice" at the end of each chapter and giving minor characters a paragraph or two for thoughts and comments. It's obvious why she did this; it saves her the trouble of creating a heartfelt, three-dimensional character. I would like to know what happened to Judy's old method of letting the characters and dialogue create the story; hopefully it will return in her next book. The writing doesn't flow naturally, either; Blume has opted to narrate this story in a choppy, disjointed manner. Dialogue is eschewed in favor of awkward phrases such as "They talked for hours about the meaning of life". Most notably, "Summer Sisters" lacks warmth. If Blume didn't care enough about these people to give them personalities, how can the reader be expected to feel anything for them? I'm still puzzled as to why Judy Blume thought it was necessary to create Sharkey, Lanie, Lewis, Dorcet, and The Countess. As characters, they're anemic at best and serve no apparent purpose. But the final insult to readers is that Blume doesn't even bother with any of her customary humor in this novel. Throughout the book, I never laughed once; I couldn't even squeeze out a polite chuckle. From beginning to end, I is to go back to the library (or your daughter's bedroom) and read "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret". It's truly awe-inspiring to realize how much heart and soul Judy put into that book, and what a breakthrough novel it was for pre-teens. "Summer Sisters" reads as if a randomly chosen teenager attempted to imitate Blume's other "adult" novels; it knows the words, but not the music
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am 12. Januar 1999
I've always read Judy Blume books. Her books would always come highly anticipated, and each time would surpass the set expectations. This year I was awaiting the latest Blume creation and it happened to come the night before a big Calculus exam. It was hard but I kept away, dutifully studying the whole night without taking a peak. But as my eyes grew weary and the first rays of sunlight gently streamed in, I knew I had to stop studying for a little break. Fix some food, take a peak at Summer Sisters and go back up. No sooner had I picked it up, that I was powerless to surrendes to the forces of Judy. From page one I was hooked. I forgot about my exam and read from dawn until I got to school, when I had to literally START the exam. The thing with Summer Sisters, is you can't take it too deeply but you can't take it too lightly. Some of the reviews I read were of people with 'dry' minds. All books must have an essence of dryness in them to be considered artistic, moving. Either a hard dialogue to follow or a sort of slow start usually qualifies a hefty novel. But then you have these gifted authors like Blume, Salinger, Binchy who have this incredible power to drive the reader in and it amazes me each time. There is a looseness around Judy Blume's new novel, the sex mainly. But the primary purpose may have been to drive away the attention from more important points that are only noted by the observer. Caitlin's flighty and unpredictable ways are made to make Vix feel jealous and inferior. This is Caitlin's whole goal. She is incredibly scared, she sees Vix as competition like Vix never knew until it was too late. The story is tragic because Caitlin to everyone seems like a bitch and she is. It's more difficult to see that because Vix is narrating the novel and can't think of one bad thing to say about Caitlin. And not once does Caitlin narrate. See, you dry readers, Blume has fooled you. Under the grabbing texts, and heavy sex scenes is a very intricate plot woven around these two. A bond unbreakable between two people so different, and yet the same in a way. They just act out differently to the emotion of fear. Vix acts in, Caitlin acts out. When they get the power of Cassandra and Vixen they are really locked closer because they each dropped their insecurities. But as they become older, things change and the higher Caitlin's mountain goes up against Vix. So yeah, don't let your twelve year old son read it, he won't understand it, but read it girls out there and read it well.
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am 11. November 1999
I've been a major fan of Judy Blume for years, ever since I read "Superfudge" (gosh, that was a long time ago!). I was very much pleased with her latest work, aimed at the adult level. It just goes to show that she is still one of the most versatile authors around.
The characters of this book are just so... real. I really identified with Vix. Her at age fourteen could have been me, unsure but solid. Caitlin, by contrast, reminds me a lot of one of my friends, so confident and sophisticated and yet so vulnerable. The minor characters were extremely well done, as well, and the background issues in family and other matters really drew me in. Abby was one of my favorites; I could really understand who she must feel, watching her children and children's friends grow up and go off where she couldn't really watch over them- having to let go.
Of course, the front issues of Vix and Caitlin's friendship is the real attraction. Blume's lucid writing style really played up the tale of love and heartbreak, promises and betrayal. The result was a heart-wrenching journey through two turbulent decades of well-worn friendship, and its a heckuva ride. I actually cried at the end.
I was glad that everything didn't wrap up neatly. There were lots of loose ends that weren't tied, and that's the way it should be. Life isn't always perfect.
I recommend this book to everyone, with the exception of children under twelve or so. I'm fourteen, and I could handle most of the sex scenes, but younger kids probably wouldn't need so many... details, shall we say? A great mother-daughter book; I might share it with my mom sometime. Definitely buy this book!
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am 25. Mai 2000
If you have nothing but time on your hands, and don't expect much from a book, I can see why you'd read this. I read about 150 pages and felt like I was reading a book for teens. You'd be better off reading "The Pilot's Wife", "Memoirs of a Geisha", or "Bridget Jones Diary." Save your money and your time on "Summer Sisters."
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