Getting a good book for the summer is as popular as eating ice cream in the sizzling heat, especially if you are jetting off to the beach and are looking for something to wile away those hot beachy days (not jealous at all).
My latest summer read is Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann, and I read about this book on a blog or in a magazine and was told that even though it was published in 1966 the thoughts and ideas the book represents are still quite relevant to modern culture.
The book tells the stories of three women, Anne, Neely and Jennifer who form a friendship throughout the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s while working in the entertainment industry and share an addiction to prescription medication to distract them from their life problems. I have only just started to read the book myself and found it was quite easy to slip into the initial story of Anne a beautiful virginal girl from a well to do family in the country who moves to the city to make something of herself rather than stay in her home town of Lawrenceville and become a wife as her mother expects her to do.
So far I am finding the story quite interesting and it seems to have a strong feminist push towards women doing what they want to do and the fight against what the men in their life and what society expect them to do, especially as gender boundaries and stereotypes are such an issue of debate even 50 years after it was published.
the author Jacqueline Susann was a model herself in New York, having moved there at 18 from Philadelphia so it will be interesting to see where the story takes these characters and how this may relate to Susann’s own experiences. I will keep you posted.
The second book I recommend is Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussman. I read this book last year after picking it up in a book store as part of a book promotion and after having read the cover synopsis it seemed like an intriguing read.
The story centres around two women Nick and Helena, who are cousins from a wealthy family, who with their own families summer in Tiger house, situated in Martha’s Vineyard, in Cape Cod, each year with much glitz and glamour and cocktails aplenty.
The book is also post war and opens on the story of Nick as she struggles to cope with life while waiting for her husband to come home from the Navy. At first the book seems to be interested in the desperations of a lonely housewife but then the story changes and moves on to the point of view of her cousin Helena, Nick’s husband Hughes and their daughter Daisy and Helena’s son Ed. The story peaks when a grisly scene is discovered while the whole family is staying at Tiger house and how all the characters react to this.
I really liked the way the book was written from each individual character’s point of view, as you get a really strong sense of the voice of each character through Klaussman’s writing and who each of the characters really are, however you soon learn that each character may not be quite what they first appear and the whole story seamlessly stitches together.
The book is an excellent read full of twists and turns, deceit love and heartbreak and it definitely kept me entertained. Klaussman is also great at setting the scene of a hot sizzling summer, which we seem to be having at the moment in the UK, I read this during winter and it the imagery used within the novel really made me feel much warmer, if anything it will leave you pining for a cool cocktail and a swim in the ocean.
Let me know what your summer reads and recommendations are in the comments below, or I’d love to know if you have read either of the two books mentioned and if you liked them – except don’t ruin Valley of the Dolls for me because I’ve just started it.