Fellow Book Worms :)

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Summer I Dared by Barbara Delinsky: Book Review

I came across my first Barbara Delinsky novel by chance. Till then I had not heard about her work, as her books are not available in the Indian market yet. There is also not much information available about her books here, since the Indian book blogging community still does not exist.

It was purely by chance that I came across her book at an old bookshop, where you get these hand-me down books that have been sold there by previous book owners. The first Barbara Delinsky book I read was The Vineyard. There was something about her writing style that really appealed to me. And I decided to search for more of her books.

At present I am reading her novel The Summer I Dared (published 2004). Yes, I got this one at the same store, and this is a copy that was originally bought in the US and has now been discarded in India...thankfully.

(I am still reading the book, so will update more once am finished reading)

Before I tell you what I thought of the book, here are the first few lines from the book:
'The Amelia Celeste was born a lobster boat. As elegant lady, she ran a proud thirty-eight feet of mahogany and oak, from the graceful upward sweep of her bow, down her foredeck to the wheelhouse, and, on a straight and simple plane, back to her stern. True to the axiom that Maine lobstermen treat their boats with the same care as their wives, the Amelia Celeste had been doted on by Matthew Crane in much the way he had pampered the flesh-and-blood Amelia Celeste, to whom he had been married for forty years and on whose grave every Friday he continued to lay a dozen long-stem roses, even twelve long years after her death.'

The story:
The plot is set in a small island called Big Sawyer Island, a quaint little place inhabited mostly with lobstemen, whose lives revolve around the water and the boats. One day, Julia Bechtel arrives from New York to visit her aunt Zoe who lives on the island, and is all set to embark upon a photography course. Julia has been going through a tough time in her marriage, a time of retrospection and thoughts over the state of her married life, and she is looking forward to this much-needed break. But there are other things in store for her as she will soon find out.

Surviving a terrible accident even as she is on the way to the island, Julia begins to feel herself getting more and more to the only two remaining survivors other than her - Noah, a divorced lobsterman and Kim, a young woman whose voice is gone with the shock of the crash.

As Julia gets more and more attached to these survivors and the other grieving families and friends who have been affected by the crash, she begins to look at her own life with a new perspective, truly understanding the value of what she has and what she needs to do make life more meaningful, more worthwhile.

My view of the book:
The writing style is fast and simple, yet entertaining and engrossing. The author has done a thorough research on the lives of lobstermen and their community and it is evident in her description and detailing, and the perfect ease with which she enables her readers to get a glimpse of the lives of these strangers out there on an island.

The characters have been given much thought and are truly believable. They stay with you for long and you feel as if you have really known them a while. Since I am from India, the daily routines of the characters are different from what I am generally used to, but the natural and descriptive style of Barbara's story-telling made me feel at home.

A very interesting read, readers in India can order the book online on Amazon.


Title: The Summer I Dared
Author: Barbara Delinsky
Pages: 491
Year of Publishing: 2004

- Debolina Raja Gupta