• Publisher: Harper Perennial; Original edition (January 18, 2011)
Synopsis from the back of the book: There is nothing like ten days with one's family to stir up child hood memories. When Anna, Portia, and Emery's mother, Louise, suffers a massive heart attack, the three grown children return to Santa Barbara as they wait for Louise to either recover or die.
Anna can't stop thinking about sex with strangers, though in junior high she was terrifyingly certain that her free-loving parents had syphilis. Portia's beach-bunny teen years feel far away as she struggles in an unfaithful husband who has left her feeling boneless and unsure. And though Emery's greatest childhood fear was that The Law would catch up with their parents for any one of their numerous transgressions, now his only worry is that he won't be able to create his own family, a newer, better version that will trump the chaos that ruled his childhood.
But time together also brings to the surface some painful, often heartbreaking secrets that will shake the foundations of everything the siblings know about themselves and their family- secrets that may, perhaps, change the way they view the past as well as the future.
My Take on the Book: Can you say dysfunctional? This book took me on a secret journey into the lives of this family. I say secret because there were so many secrets exposed that one would need a shrink on staff to deal with. I was amazed at the work the author did to weave such a heartbreaking tale of the lives of these characters.
This book is not a light read. It is for adults as it contained adult behaviors and situations that would not been appropriate, in my opinion of course, for YA to read. I say this because my YA are always looking for new reads.
The abuse and dysfunction was almost unbearable at times but in the end, as in any traumatic situation, you can come out a stronger person. I personally grew up in dysfunction so some of this book hit home for me and I could relate to the abuse, shock and discovery. So my perspective on the book might be different from someone who had never encounter such dysfunction.
The book made me cry and laugh and cheer and made me angry at times. I never wanted to stop reading because I had to see where the author was taking the family. This type of book has to be written by someone who really has some first hand experience into some of the secrets exposed. As a survivor I can say that I loved the book and I hope you will grab a copy and join in and see what you will discover with this family.
About Jessica Anya BlauJessica Anya Blau is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University, where she received her Masters in fiction. Currently, she is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Goucher College in Maryland. She has been awarded scholarships from Bread Loaf and The Sewanee Writer’s Conference, and fellowships from Johns Hopkins University and Sewanee. Her stories have won numerous awards and have appeared in notable magazines and anthologies, as well as the textbook The Prose Reader, Essays for Thinking. Jessica’s first novel, The Summer of Naked Swim Parties, was selected as a Best Summer Reading Book by the Today Show, the New York Post and New York Magazine. The San Francisco Chronicle, along with other major newspapers, chose The Summer of Naked Swim Parties as a Best Book of 2008.
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