Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Body Surfing by Anita Shreve

Anita Shreve is one of my favorite contemporary authors. I actually own all of her books (except for this one - I'm better now about checking books out from the library!). She writes fascinating stories that are full of human emotion. It's hard to describe why I love her books so much, they remind me of a modern day Edith Wharton, another of my favorite authors. I recommend reading one of her books yourself to check out what I'm talking about. I'd recommend The Weight of Water, Fortune's Rocks, Sea Glass, or The Pilot's Wife.

That said, this is one of Shreve's weaker novels. Truthfully the last few novels have been weaker than my favorite novels listed above. I like her historical fiction better than her contemporary in general.

Body Surfing tells the story of Sydney, a young woman of 29 who is in college and a tutor for the summer to the Edwards' family's youngest daughter, Julie. Julie is "slow," but it is never explained why. Sydney has already been widowed once and divorced once. The Edwards family is spending the summer at their beach front summer home on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean in New Hampshire. Interestingly this is also the house that Fortune's Rocks, Sea Glass, and The Pilot's Wife are set. I hope she continues on with the history of the house! The Edwards' elder sons arrive for the weekend, Ben a real-estate excecutive, and Jeff, a professor at MIT. Both appear to like Sydney and she ends up in a romance with one.

The novel had a slow beginning, but I liked it the more I got into it. Especially with the twist in the middle of the book.

The things I didn't like about the book were the beginning (I found myself not caring at all about the main character until later in the book), the hero (I thought he was kind of a jerk from the get-go), and the style of writting (this book seems to jump around in random thoughts a lot more than her other novels).

I highly recommend Anita Shreve - but if you have to read only one of her books, I'd recommend one of the ones listed above. This novel was an okay read, but not one of her finest.

1 comment:

  1. I actually really liked the formating of this book once I got used to it. It seemed like it was written in photographic snapshots. I tend to like her books that contain historical fiction as well. My favorite is Sea Glass.