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May 11, 2021
Daisy Shoemaker can’t sleep. With a thriving cooking business, full schedule of volunteer work, and a beautiful home in the Philadelphia suburbs, she should be content. But her teenage daughter can be a handful; her husband can be distant, her work can feel trivial, and she has lots of acquaintances, but no real friends. Still, Daisy knows she’s got it good. So why is she up all night?
While Daisy tries to identify the root of her dissatisfaction, she’s also receiving misdirected emails meant for a woman named Diana Starling, whose email address is just one punctuation mark away from her own. While Daisy’s driving carpools, Diana is chairing meetings. While Daisy’s making dinner, Diana’s making plans to reorganize corporations. Diana’s glamorous, sophisticated, single-lady life is miles away from Daisy’s simpler existence. When an apology leads to an invitation, the two women meet and become friends. But, as they get closer, we learn that their connection was not completely accidental. Who IS this other woman, and what does she want with Daisy?
From the manicured Main Line of Philadelphia to the wild landscape of the Outer Cape, written with Jennifer Weiner’s signature wit and sharp observations, That Summer is a story about surviving our pasts, confronting our futures, and the sustaining bonds of friendship.
That Summer doesn’t come out for another month, but I keep thinking about the book, so here we are. I enjoyed the story in and of itself—interesting characters and engaging plot. But the book is also such a smart, thoughtful, and balanced commentary on sexual assault.
Of course Weiner paints a sympathetic portrait of the victim, and rightly so—but, in my opinion, that’s the easy part. What I especially appreciate is how she handles the other side. We don’t talk about this much, but sexual assault has a lasting and damaging affect on the aggressor, too. When we are violent against another living being, it poisons us. Maybe some people can hide the fallout better than others, but there is no denying the soul scar that’s left behind. It’s like a scab that never quite heals. A weight that can never be lifted and thrown aside.
I really appreciate Weiner’s ability to show how awful sexual assault is for the victim, as well as how carrying around hate and committing acts of violence against other humans actually robs the aggressor of his power and internal peace. Overall, an affecting, intelligent, and satisfying read.
Big thank you to Atria Books and Net Galley for the ARC!