I am totally cruising through my book list.
I can now check Hilma Wolitzer's Summer Reading off the list. And thank goodness. I won't even bother with including NPR's review of the book here because I found it to be utterly inaccurate and I wouldn't want to mislead you. (I mean, I respect NPR's journalists. And this lady works for Terry Gross for crying out loud.) There is nothing clever or witty or brazen about this book at all. It was a short read of total fluff, kind of like a literary soap opera where the lives of the characters are supposed to have some kind of clever parallel to the literature referenced in the book itself. Clever my ass.
The story is told through the points of view of three characters whose lives intermingle during a summer in the Hamptons. Angela is a retired literature professor who is haunted by memories of an affair from her youth, Lyssa is a poor little rich girl socialite whose worst dilemmas waver between trying to (barf barf) find herself and wondering which h'ors d'oevres to have her housekeeper serve and Michelle the housekeeper from the poor side of town who is the most interesting of the three, but I honestly can't tell you what she learns during the book. I can't tell you what any of them learned, their stories end satisfactorily with everyone getting married or being reuinited or finding new love, blah, blah, blah.
About halfway through the book, I thought to myself: I have no idea what the big conflict will be for each character to struggle through and learn from, wondering how the writer was going to wrap it up quick so that we could hit the lows of each story in preparation for the epiphany of the character arcs at the end. Or even provide some sort of lesson to the reader by way of a cautionary tale. Perhaps my expectations were a little too much. When the book drew to a close, I could feel the writer scrambling hastily for some sort of conclusion to the mess so that the three women's stories came together at the end a little too pat, a little too convenient.
What I learned is that this book sucks. A quick harmless read with not much substance throughout.