As far as I’m concerned, a summer holiday is good for a number of things: firstly, the opportunity to relax and get a good tan; secondly, the opportunity to shut off from the world and finally; the opportunity to read, read, read. Summerlong by Dean Bakopolous is the absolutely perfect summer read.
I’ve never read anything by Dean before but I was still pretty excited when this book hit my inbox. I started it a few weeks ago, after my exams finished and it ended up being the first book I completed by the pool on my holiday to Spain. The story follows a couple, Claire and Don, and their separate summers. Each is dissatisfied in their relationship and each form relations with outside characters. Eventually, everyone links back together and the story evolves into a complex, almost philosophical tale of finding oneself, loss and togetherness. I must admit that I loved the secondary characters a lot more than the two protagonists, particularly ABC, and I felt that I felt a lot more sorry for her and her situation than I did for Don and Claire combined. The loss that she suffered was a heavy burden to carry and I personally wouldn’t have the personal strength that she had. Looking just at the book’s cover, you couldn’t possibly imagine that the book would have themes as dark as the ones it does, but that just goes to show that looks can be deceiving and you definitely shouldn’t judge a book by its cover!
The novel dealt with quite a few difficult subjects, principally suicide and loss, and I believe that it did so in a very subtle and appropriate way. I definitely enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would, and I got through it pretty quickly. It was one of those that once you start it, you find it quite difficult to put it down and that’s definitely a good thing. It was pretty melancholic at times but I love books that make you think about difficult matters and this melancholy definitely appealed to me as a reader. I was a bit disappointed not to find out entirely what happened after the main event at the end had passed, but there has to be an end, I suppose! The only negative I can come up with about the book was there was a lot of unnecessary weed smoking, but beggars can’t be choosers!
It was easy to get into, easy to get through and a shame to finish. Incredibly quirky and not at all what I expected! I’d definitely recommend getting hold of a copy if you fancy something a bit different and slightly edgy! Thanks very much to the team at Blackfriars for my review copy!