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Summer Reading    by Hilma Wolitzer order for
Summer Reading
by Hilma Wolitzer
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, e-Book

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*   Reviewed by Lori Waddington

Twenty-eight year old Alyssa 'Lissy' Snyder seems to have the perfect life. She is newly married, and she spends her summers in her dream house in the Hamptons. But Lissy has always been insecure; even as a child, she never quite felt like she fit in. So even though she suffers from a reading disability, she is thrilled when she is invited to join a book club, feeling as if she has finally been accepted.

Sixty-three year old Angela Graves is a retired professor and the leader of the book club. Despite the fact that Angela has never married, she is perfectly content living by herself with only her books for company. But now her own painful past has come back to haunt her, and she is determined to face it head on.

Twenty-something local Michelle Cutty cleans for Lissy Snyder while eavesdropping on book club meetings and rummaging through Lissy's things. Michelle is fairly content with her life, but after two years of dating her boyfriend Hank, she is growing increasingly frustrated with Hank's lack of commitment - Hank seems perfectly happy with their relationship just the way it is.

Summer Reading reads like a series of vignettes. The only time these three women spend any time around each other is during the book club meetings in Lissy's house. I had a difficult time with Lissy's story, as she seemed a bit too shallow and whiny for my tastes. While I enjoyed reading about Michelle, it is Angela who really keeps this book moving; I found myself cheering for her from the very beginning.

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