Monday, September 16, 2019

Summer of ‘69 By Elin Hilderbrand

This week we are pleased to welcome Laura as a reviewer!  Laura has just joined the Reference Department and is an avid reader.  She especially enjoys thrillers.

Reviewed by Laura

Summer for the Levin children has always meant a visit with their grandmother in Nantucket, staying in her historic home and enjoying time together.  This year, the summer of 1969, things are very different.  Oldest daughter Blair is pregnant with twins and won’t be able to travel; daughter Kirby is caught up in the protest movement; and son Tiger is a soldier serving in Viet Nam.  This leaves thirteen year old Jessie to find her way with her mother and grandmother, both of whom have concerns and secrets they don’t intend to share with a young girl. This is both a coming of age story and a family drama set in a tumultuous and exciting period in our history.

The title of this book drew me in more than anything. 2019 is a momentous year--50 years since the moon landing, the Viet Nam war, Woodstock, and Ted Kennedy’s Chappaquiddick tragedy.  I was ready to revisit that summer from my childhood. It stood out in my memory more vividly than any other. Actually watching man walk on the moon was almost beyond my comprehension! Have we ever had a more exciting, defining moment in space exploration? 

            I could relate very well to Jessie, one of the main characters and the youngest member of the family. My brother also went off to Viet Nam that year. His furlough, before being shipped out,  happened to coincide with the moon walk. Perhaps that’s why my memories are so intense. This book did a good job of highlighting the fear and uncertainty faced by family members, especially mothers. There was the “look away, can’t look away” feeling of watching the nightly news reports on the war. I wanted a book that took me back to that traumatic, yet exciting summer; to relive a little bit of the experiences that helped shape me. I didn’t get that experience through this book.  For instance, the moon walk was recorded almost as an afterthought. For me and my family, that event  was a milestone in our lives.

So, if you are looking for a book that is well-written and set during that fateful summer, this may be the book for you. I was disappointed in this novel because I was hoping for a deeper look into the history of that era. I should have realized that most of Elin Hilderbrand’s novels are considered beach reads and who wants a really heavy historical novel at the beach? So if you enjoy her other novels and aren’t looking for a more intense historical offering, don’t hesitate to read this book. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!

No comments:

Post a Comment