Big Summer

By Jennifer Weiner

Books written by Jennifer Weiner lead you to believe early on that you will be reading simple, classic chic lit  As you get further into the book, you learn that this is not just a light-hearted beach read.  The characters have more depth and complexity than a light beach read.  Weiner characters are usually in their twenties and this novel is no exception.  So be prepared to be a little bored with some of their actions and conversations.

In Big Summer, the author tackles the topic of image from two different perspectives.  Daphne Berg, is a young woman who is learning to deal with accepting her body as is and to enjoy life, love herself and not feel compelled to starve herself into a smaller jean size.  Daphne is convinced by her friend Drue Cavanaugh, that young man at a club is interested in her, and then realizes that the interest is not real, rather it’s a set up by Drue.  We later learn that Drue is a mean girl through and through.  The moment of truth is captured on video and goes viral on the internet.  Daphne uses this event to become an internet influencer.

Years later, Drue, wiggles her way back into Daphne’s life, despite the warnings of Daphne’s roommate.  Drue is getting married and not surprisingly is having difficulty finding people to serve in her bridal party.  We are whisked to Cape Cod for the wedding of the season and as Daphne soon learns, all is not as it seems.  The image of the happy bride and groom is shattered.  Drue’s parent’s marriage has completely disintegrated and the highlight of the weekend is a murder.  We learn that the image of a wealthy family can crumble quickly.

Weiner helps us understand the challenges Daphne has encountered throughout her life as a “big girl” and how she really has grown into accepting her body.  We learn that Drue, the girl who appears to have everything, a good education, a good career and an important and wealthy family really has nothing.  In the end we understand that images are just a view, not a reality.  We also understand that we often wish for what someone else has and if we were to dig deeper, we might see that this desire is misguided.

Even with the murder, Big Summer is a beach read.  Nothing too deep or dark and you’ll read through it quickly, so make sure you have other books to read when you are finished with this one.