Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Judy Blume - Summer Sisters



So I'm dealing with this; this Calibre thing that Jae totally understands/loves/might as well just marry and I just keep looking at it dubiously, like who are you and why can't I make categories on you, why are you genuinely consuming my entire night just loading my shit, and don't even think about turning this around and making it about the actual volume of shit I have so shut up seriously.

While that's happening, I will tell you about a book I read. I do this never, on my shared book blog, so obviously this is important.

Judy Blume - Summer Sisters

I guess I'm super late to the party on this one -  it was published in the halcyon days of 2003. This probably would have changed my life had I read it in 2003, but reading it in 2012 was more "nice evening in, please hold the sonnets decreeing it's greatness." It's a lovely book, but I'm pretty sure Judy Blume's life-changing capabilities fade entirely after your 23rd birthday or something. It's in your DNA, like those weird cell phone noises that only children can hear. Some things, you just age out of.

Regardless, I was feeling nostalgic and starting plowing through a boatload of JB's catalog (Starring Sally J. Freedman As Herself was always my favorite, I know, who am I, what have I done with general consensus, but oh my god those letters to !!!Hitler In Disguise!!! fucking kill me) and this was thrown in the mix because I almost never remember the titles of books I've read. I assumed I had read it, with the rest. I had not. And it's pretty damn amazing.

It's one of her adult novels (not adult like porn, adult like probably don't give this to your 8 year old). It's about these BFFs (kind of? like not my definition of BFF but clearly someone's?), and their lives basically from age 12 through eternity. Whatever, here's the summary, I'm terrible at this:

In the summer of 1977, Victoria Leonard's world changed forever—when Caitlin Somers chose her as a friend. Dazzling, reckless Caitlin welcomed Vix into the heart of her sprawling, eccentric family, opening doors to a world of unimaginable privilege, sweeping her away to vacations on Martha's Vineyard, a magical, wind-blown island where two friends became summer sisters. . . .

Now, years later, Vix is working in New York City. Caitlin is getting married on the Vineyard. And the early magic of their long, complicated friendship has faded. But Caitlin has begged Vix to come to her wedding, to be her maid of honor. And Vix knows that she will go—for the friend whose casual betrayals she remembers all too well. Because Vix wants to understand what happened during that last shattering summer. And, after all these years, she needs to know why her best friend—her summer sister—still has the power to break her heart....
Why do all summaries end with an ellipsis? I mean, I guess I know technically why, but it's still irritating as all fuck.

And this kind of sounds awful! Don't listen to the saccharine synopsis. There is some deep shit buried in this book. And scissoring! Honestly! THERE IS SCISSORING, OK.

Blume is basically the master of relateable adolescent girl stories. It's why she's such a hit with the YA set -- it's like someone sucked the awkward insanity out of a 12 year old's head and made sense of it in a way that understandable, hilarious, absurd, and sad. This book has SO MUCH of all of those things. You will laugh, you will cry, etc. The relationship between Vix and Caitlin is so tragic and awful, and I feel like most ladies have had at some point a friendship that was just that intense and inevitably doomed for it.

FOR THE RECORD: Minus the scissoring. I get that it's a thing and surely happens amongst pre-teen/who the fuck am I/what is sex/etc girls, but also does NOT happen with the same frequency, and let's just take a moment to recognize that there are all kinds and all of them are fine. THAT SAID: some of these paragraphs made me keenly uncomfortable in a way that has probably everything to do with my own hang-ups, but come on, I am basically reading a sex scene between 12 year old girls and that is weird, there I said it.

Read this book! Totally read it. It will take you like 4 hours, not even. And your library has it. Right now. There are characters named Bru, Von, and Lamb (for gods sake) which are all genuinely stupid and I didn't even care, that's how much I enjoyed this book. So read it, and then we can talk about the The Power, which is such a bizarre concept that I can't even tell you about it.

Hey, guess what! Calibre's done. I'm going to go pretend like I know what the fuck I'm doing.