Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Summer We Fell Apart by Robin Antalek

In The Summer We Fell Apart, Robin Antalek follows the grown children of a dysfunctional marriage.  The Haas marriage was renowned in theatrical circles.  The father was a Tony-award winning playwright, but his career stumbled badly after this honor.  The mother is more successful, still getting acting roles in her fifties and sixties.  The question is why these two ever married and had children.  The children seem to be nothing more than an afterthought, and the marriage revolved around the headgames and the serial adultry of each parent.

Now that the children are grown, they have entered adult lives of their choices.  Kate, the oldest and the father's favorite, is a hard-charging corporate lawyer, full of to-do lists and lots of projects but little time for emotions.  Finn, the mother's favorite, has had alcohol issues and stumbles from rehab to rehab.  George is a swim coach at a private boy's school and provides the most emotional support for his siblings.  Amy is the youngest and is an artist, living in New York with her boyfriend.

The book follows the children in their lives, especially in the time immediately following the death of their father.  Antalek explores how we grow up, what sibling relationships mean and what we owe to our nuclear families once we grow up and make separate adult lives.  The writing is immediate and real, and although the topic could be depressing, it doesn't weigh down the book.  This book is recommended for readers who enjoy books about how we relate to each other and the world.


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I was wondering about this book Sandie, so thanks for the great review.

trish said...

I think this book sounds great! I love character studies like this. Thanks for being on this tour!