Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Last Summer-Holly Chamberlin

Last Summer

Holly Chamberlin

Kensington, Jun 26 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9780758235084

BFFs Jane Patterson and Frannie Giroux are next door neighbors in Yorktide, Maine. Jane’s husband Mike is very accepting of their friendship while Frannie’s ex-husband is a deadbeat dad. Their teenage daughters Rosie and Meg are also best friends.

However, relationships are shattered when the fourteen years old girls enter Yorktide Memorial High School. The older students bully the freshmen with pretty reticent Rosie a prime target. Fearing she will be abused too, Meg tells the bullies a devastating secret about her buddy. The taunting intensifies until Rosie mentally breaks down. Rejecting their personal blame, the moms argue over culpability as their friendship withers. Rosie undergoes intense therapy over the next few months as she heals and gains a new perspective on her own strengths and the vulnerabilities of her mom, her former BFF and her friend’s mother.

This is a timely tale of the impact of bullying on the victim and her loved ones as each of the two generations of mother and daughter protagonists suffer from guilt, blame and a need to forgive themselves and the others if they are to feel good about themselves. Rosie believes she caused the bullying as she excuses those torturing her and holds herself responsible for the unhappiness of her loved ones. Meg hides , behind an aggressive veneer, her feelings of failing her loved ones. Jane fears her over-protecting her daughter left her unprepared for life in high school. Finally Frannie condemns herself for not being there for her child. Although the long term trauma of bullying is somewhat muted, readers will appreciate this engaging character study as the four females struggle with their deepest fears that divides them at a time when they need each other.

Harriet Klausner

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