Thursday, June 25, 2015

review: summer secrets by jane green

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After some semi-misses, Jane Green gets back on track with a British protagonist who has a drinking problem. Summer Secrets finds Cat, recently divorced and sober, working the steps in Alcoholics Anonymous and remembering the life that got her to this point. The scenes of the past unfold better than many of the present-day scenes which are a little too in Cat’s head. The action is in Cat’s drunken past and the first time she tried to get sober. That’s when Cat’s mother reveals that the man who raised Cat was not her father and that her biological father drank a lot as well. When Cat seeks him out, her fragile sobriety is compromised and Cat betrays her newfound family. When Cat regains her sobriety over a decade later, she knows she must make amends.

The family drama of Summer Secrets is excellent, but Green too frequently has Cat fall into a narcissistically whiny narrative, especially when she’s at AA meetings. Those scenes dragged and didn’t add to the overall plot. Fortunately much of Summer Secrets is about what occurred the first summer Cat visited Nantucket and the fallout from that first visit once she returns.
Review copy provided by the publisher, St. Martin’s Press.

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