Saturday, May 17, 2014
My Thoughts: The Summer Invitation by Charlotte Silver
What was this book about? That was my first thought upon reading The Summer Invitation by Charlotte Silver. Really, I finished all 192 pages and had no idea what the book was about. I struggled with the story, it's not a long book, and still it took me a couple days to read it. I considered putting it down a number of times, but in the end I powered through it.
The Summer Invitation tells the story of Franny (Frances) and her older sister Valentine, who get an invitation to spend the summer in New York. This invitation comes from an elderly aunt the girls have never met, and who will not be joining them in New York until the end of the summer. Instead, they will be cared for by a 28 year old chaperone (who they have not met). My first issue with this, their parents agreed to this without really thinking about it... no discussion, no concerns, not really. They just let their fourteen and seventeen year old daughters venture off to a big city with a stranger. Really?!?!?
As I briefly mentioned earlier, I felt like this book was about nothing. The girls visit New York with the idea that they are to be educated about proper social etiquette. What was weird about this part- and I will do my best to explain this- was how their chaperone- Clover- approached this. The Summer Invitation is supposed to take place in modern day New York, however I felt like the tone was very much 1920s-1930s, with hints of modernity thrown in to confuse things. The girls weren't encourage to wear "trousers," they only ate at the right restaurants and blah blah blah. I felt like Clover was straight out of the 1930s, the way she would dress, act, even the way she would speak. It felt SO unrealistic to me. Had this story taken place in that era it would have made for a great read. However, it was to all over the place for me.
Honestly, I think what bothered me the most about this book, was how juvenile it felt. The book felt immature to me, it lacked character development and the plot was weak. Some would say this novel was a coming of age novel, and maybe it was supposed to be, but it never got there for me.
Overall, I really did not like The Summer Invitation. It was not the book for me. In saying that, I do believe that this book will be greatly enjoyed by younger teens, who are just starting to enjoy the thrills of reading.
~Happy Reading Everyone!