Sarah’s Snippets Book Review: Summerlong by Dean Bakopoulos

Summerlong, Dean BakopoulosFiction
Released June 16, 2015
320 Pages
Bottom Line: Read it.
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Source: Purchased


Summerlong was a surprise hit for me…it’s darker and edgier than the cover would lead you to believe and is going on my 2015 Summer Reading List.

Plot Summary

During one particularly hot summer in Grinnell, Iowa, Don and Claire Lowry find that their marriage isn’t as strong as they thought; their discontent and the heat driving them to act uncharacteristically.

Why I Read It

The blurb sounded a bit like the dark side of “Desperate Housewives” and Tara at Running N Reading had good things to say about it.

Major Themes

Marriage, mid-life crises, general discontent, maintaining your identity through motherhood

What I Liked Loved

  • The very beginning of this one was just okay, but I liked it more and more the farther I read.
  • You can really feel this book…the simmering suburban discontent, everyone having an itch that’s just waiting to be scratched, the restlessness that comes with sweltering summer days. It’s like a sea of smoldering embers threatening to ignite at the slightest catalyst.
  • The cast of characters is delightfully eclectic and everyone is dealing with their own issues…the unhappily married housewife (Claire), the failing and desperate real estate agent (Don), the grieving lover (ABC), and the actor returning home to tie up loose ends (Charlie). And, best of all….
  • Ruth Manetti (she deserves her own bullet)! This eighty-some year old pothead gives the best life advice…I decided she needs to be my shrink!

“You see?” Ruth says. “This is why I like you more than anybody else. When I give you the straight dope, you don’t reel off some optimistic bullshit.”

  • Bakopoulos nails the issue of women losing their identities during motherhood. I highlighted so many passages pertaining to this issue that made me think “yes, that’s exactly how it is.” And, I’m even more impressed given he’s male!

What I Didn’t Like

  • The ending fizzled a bit and partially revolved around the storyline I was the least invested in. But, it didn’t bother me that much because this book was about the journey and I enjoyed that immensely.

A Defining Quote

“Something happened to me,” Claire says. “I don’t know what. I stopped wanting things.” “And now?” he says. “Now,” she says, “I just want.”

Good for People Who Like…

Books set in the Midwest, books about marriage, books about motherhood, gorgeous writing, quirky characters, small town life

Other Books You May Like

Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler
The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. by Adelle Waldman
The Wife by Meg Wolitzer

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  1. This definitely sounds like my kind of book. I put my name on the library hold list after you mentioned it in an earlier post (maybe a Tuesday Intro?)… hope I get it before the summer is over!

    Posted 7.9.15 Reply
    • admin wrote:

      Oh good! I hope you get to it and enjoy it!

      Posted 7.9.15 Reply
  2. Sarah, I’m so glad you enjoyed this one; it really was such an unexpected delight! I love the quotes you’ve selected to share and, yes…I, too, would love to have a Ruth-ha! Great post and thanks for the mention!

    Posted 7.9.15 Reply
    • admin wrote:

      Oh my god – do I ever need a Ruth! Someone to make me feel less guilty about my lack of cleaning…among many other things! And – the farther away I get from this book, the more I like it. I’m still thinking about it and finding myself recommending it to lots of people. I might change my Goodreads rating from 4 to 5 stars…

      Posted 7.9.15 Reply
  3. I love the cover but it does give you the sense of a light, fun book. Your review has intrigued me.

    Posted 7.9.15 Reply
    • admin wrote:

      It does, right?! And – it’s still a pretty fun book, but with a dark side that was a pleasant surprise for me.

      Posted 7.9.15 Reply
  4. Carmen wrote:

    Quirky characters…Where do I sign up?!

    Posted 7.9.15 Reply
    • admin wrote:

      Yes – run get it!

      Posted 7.9.15 Reply
  5. This sounds pretty good – you know how to sell it! Not sure when I’ll get to it though, as I have SO much coming down the pipeline!

    Posted 7.9.15 Reply
    • admin wrote:

      I hear ya! But, I really loved it and related specifically to the topic of maintaining (or not) your identity through motherhood. Hope you get a chance to try it!

      Posted 7.9.15 Reply
  6. I love that quote, and I would have never guessed there was a dark edge by the cover. It looks like one I would enjoy but time is a huge factor, so I’m having to be really choosy lately.

    Posted 7.9.15 Reply
    • admin wrote:

      I many books, so little time!

      Posted 7.10.15 Reply
  7. Kelly wrote:

    I’m definitely interested in this book, especially the “losing identity in motherhood” aspect…part of me worries (based on the description) that the characters are a little overdone (the whole Desperate Housewives thing), but I’ve heard so many good reviews, I have to try it!

    Posted 7.10.15 Reply
  8. Despite the ending, I must say your loved aspects have me curious..I like the darker tones.

    Posted 7.12.15 Reply
  9. Love the cover….sounds good.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Great review.

    Stopping by from Carole’s Books You Loved August Edition. I am in the list as #34 through #36.

    Please search for the book titles in the FIND A REVIEWED BOOK slot if you stop by or click on the links in Carole’s post.

    Happy Reading!!

    Silver’s Reviews
    My Blog

    Posted 8.5.15 Reply

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