Beach Book a Bust

girls-on-a-beach-106193I recently picked up Meg Donohue’s All the Summer Girls for two reasons: I wanted to read an example of contemporary women’s fiction, aka Chic Lit, and I was headed off to the Cape for a beach vacation, and thought it an apt title.  I was disappointed on both counts.  The story centers around three very different women in their late twenties who have been life-long friends.  One summer on the beach in Avalon (NJ), an event occurred which changed each of them.  Now, years later, they come together again to the same beach, each harboring their own secrets.  The book is told through the first person of each of the three: Kate, a controlling lawyer who has just been dumped by her fiance, Dani, a writer who has sabotaged her efforts with drugs and alcohol, and Vanessa, an art gallery owner who has recently given up her career for motherhood and is perhaps resenting her decision.  The strongest drawn character of the three is Dani, who is portrayed in a sympathetic manner.  I found the others two-dimensional and, frankly, I just didn’t care much about their problems.  The climax of the novel–the big reveal which we are teased with throughout the first 200 or so pages–is each woman’s participation or guilt over the accidental death of Kate’s brother during the summer of their junior year in college.  After all the build-up, the uncovered secrets and buried guilt is a big yawn.  The author delivers some nice descriptions of the beach, she crafts some beautiful turns of phrase to describe internal experiences, but much too much of her work is “telling” us about the three women instead of “showing.” Not having read Donohue’s other title, How to Eat a Cupcake, based on this one, I’ll pass on dessert.

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2 Comments

Filed under Book Review

2 responses to “Beach Book a Bust

  1. You really know your own stuff… Continue the good function!

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