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Review: The Summer We Fell Apart

January 29, 2010

The four Haas children are practically raising themselves.  Their father is a Tony award winning playwright, who seems to have writer’s block, and has left the family emotionally.  Their mother is a B-movie actress, struggling to pay the bills.  Neither of the parents are there for the kids, so Kate, the oldest, has taken on much of the responsibility.

One year, after Kate has moved out, their dad brings home Miriam, “an exchange student” from Switzerland.   Miriam’s presence changes the dynamics of the family in subtle ways.  Later in life, two large events make them re-think what their family means to them, but is it too little, too late?

The Summer We Fell Apart by Robin Antalek is a powerful debut novel.  It’s told from the point of view of all four Haas children and their mother.  Each narrator is given a separate section so it was very easy to keep track of the point of view.  This book is so well written, and the story’s so plausible, I had to keep reminding myself that it’s a novel.

Each of the characters in The Summer We Fell Apart is damaged, but that probably just made me like them more.  It was easy to see how their relationships affected them.  That doesn’t mean there weren’t times when I wasn’t frustrated with them, though.

The writing in this book kept me engrossed, even though much of the book is sad.   There is a glimmer of hope, though, and it’s enough to make you hope the characters figure things out.  I really enjoyed The Summer We Fell Apart and recommend it to those who enjoy literary fiction and family stories.

You can listen to an interview with the author on Blog Talk Radio.  Here’s the book trailer:

Review copy provided by Book Club Girl.   I am an Amazon Associate.
40 Comments leave one →
  1. January 29, 2010 6:33 am

    This book is making its rounds, and it appeals to me for some reason. I really don’t mind sad if the writing is good and there is hope. Nice review Kathy!

  2. January 29, 2010 7:08 am

    This line in your review caught me: “This book is so well written, and the story’s so plausible, I had to keep reminding myself that it’s a novel.” Going on the wish list now!

  3. January 29, 2010 7:53 am

    Yes, (what Beth F said). I thought the same thing and now the book is going on my tbr list. Nice review, Kathy.

  4. January 29, 2010 8:02 am

    This sounds really good, and I love family dramas like this. Thanks for the recommendation!

    –Anna

  5. January 29, 2010 8:14 am

    Nice review, but I find books like this mildly depressing

  6. January 29, 2010 8:37 am

    I think you did a good job with this review. It’s a book that will appeal to many people because of the dysfunctional family and kids. I really liked it, and after the BTR show, I liked it even more.

  7. January 29, 2010 9:45 am

    I’ve heard many good things about this book although it carries a sad story. Thanks for the review. I definitely want to read this.

  8. January 29, 2010 9:57 am

    I appreciate your thoughts on this book. I’m seeing notices of it all over the place. I kind of have to be in the mood for a book like this, but I think that the next time I am, it would be a good choice. Thanks for sharing.

  9. January 29, 2010 10:14 am

    This sounds like one that I would absolutely enjoy. Thanks for the review Kathy!

  10. January 29, 2010 10:25 am

    Added to wish list! Thanks for the review, this one sounds like it will be right up my alley!

  11. January 29, 2010 11:39 am

    Sounds like a good book! Thanks for the review.

  12. January 29, 2010 11:44 am

    It does sound like it could be non-fiction. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  13. January 29, 2010 11:49 am

    I’ve read so many good things about this book, I guess I’ll just have to read it!

  14. January 29, 2010 12:32 pm

    Thank you for this great review, Kathy. I like books that explore the relationships between characters and how individual behaviors and attitudes impact a family. I look forward to reading this one.

  15. January 29, 2010 12:58 pm

    Glad to hear such good things about this one. It’s up next for me to read.

  16. January 29, 2010 1:32 pm

    Going on my wish list now. I like that it is told from the point of view of all four Haas children and their mother.

  17. January 29, 2010 3:07 pm

    I like books that explore family dynamics and that this one explores it from the point of view of the whole family makes it more appealing. I’m adding it to my wishlist!

  18. January 29, 2010 3:51 pm

    I like your review of this book. Any book that makes you think it’s really non-fiction is one I want to read.

  19. January 29, 2010 4:21 pm

    Wonderful review, Kathy. Another book to add to my wishlist!

  20. January 29, 2010 4:26 pm

    This one just went on the wish list. Thanks for the great review!

  21. January 29, 2010 5:17 pm

    Thanks for this terrific review. It sounds like one for my wishlist.

  22. January 29, 2010 5:45 pm

    You make this one sound very appealing. I like books that are a little sad and families that are a little dysfunctional – must make me feel good in comparison!

  23. January 29, 2010 6:21 pm

    I really want to read this now! I love literary fiction about families, especially when it seems real to life.

  24. January 29, 2010 7:23 pm

    I love domestic fiction and this one sounds great! The cover really speaks to me as well. Great review!

  25. January 29, 2010 8:44 pm

    Loved your review, especially the reasons why you liked this story. Sounds like one that I would absolutely enjoy!

  26. January 30, 2010 12:13 am

    This one is on my list, but I’ve kind of been on the fence about it. Your review just might be what pushes me over to the reading side!

  27. January 30, 2010 8:43 am

    I’ve seen this around, and had added it to my TBR list. I’m weird in that I have a thing for sad stories …LOL

    Great review Kathy

  28. stacybuckeye permalink
    January 30, 2010 11:13 am

    Looks fantastic. Great review!

  29. January 30, 2010 12:41 pm

    Thanks for the review on this one Kathy. I was thinking of downloading it to my eReader so I guess I will.

  30. January 30, 2010 2:08 pm

    this seems very good, it does sound like it could be non-fiction. I like books that deal with families and relationships.
    great review!

  31. January 30, 2010 2:41 pm

    This is a really good review.

  32. January 30, 2010 11:58 pm

    Nice review!! I’m pretty eager to read this one!

  33. January 31, 2010 6:01 am

    I know what you mean about a characters’ flaws sometimes only making you care more. Sounds like a powerful book.

  34. January 31, 2010 4:53 pm

    This sounds exceptional (and I love the cover). When I first saw your title, I worried it was a title for one of your stories from France! I am glad that it is fiction.

  35. January 31, 2010 8:02 pm

    I’m adding this book onto my wishlist! Plus, I love the cover too!

  36. February 1, 2010 10:51 am

    Sounds like a great read — I’m looking forward to it! I’ll be hosting it on a blog tour later this month. Hoping I enjoy it as much as you did 🙂

  37. February 1, 2010 4:53 pm

    I read this a couple of weeks ago and will be hosting a blog tour for it later this week. I thought the style and story in this book were stunning. It was at times, heartrendingly sad and I felt so much for the children of that family. Overall, it was a great story that trapped me between the covers very early on, and I am so glad that you felt the same. Great review!

  38. February 2, 2010 12:19 pm

    I will probably listen to this one on audio at some point. I love the title.

  39. February 6, 2010 8:26 pm

    Sounds like a good book. I seem to be drawn to the depressing ones!

  40. February 25, 2010 6:00 pm

    This one sounds great, plus I really love the cover!

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