Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Summer Sisters by Judy Blume

For me, re-reading a book is like visiting an old friend. There’s comfort in it, familiarity, warmth. I know a lot of people who think that it is a waste of time to re-read a book. I think it’s a joy. A story is never the same when you read it more than once. You pick up on things you missed the first time, find new meaning the third time, and find an understanding you missed the first dozen times. Summer Sisters is a re-read for me. Recommended to me by my adorable friend, Sonia, I had never heard of it before. I was looking for a summer read, something I would want to re-visit year after year. This is definitely one of those books. I just finished my second read of this story and I think it was even better this time around. And, as I said above, a re-read helps you find new meaning. I sure found it.
The friendship between Vix and Caitlin is...I want to say far from normal, but I’m not so sure it is. In every friendship, heck, every relationship, there is always one person who gives more and another who takes. Somehow, someway, these friendships survive, and thrive in their own way. Conflict and misery bring us closer together, and the good times make it hard to imagine ever being apart. Vix is definitely the giver in this friendship. She knows she’s doing it, though, and accepts her role. She knows that, no matter what, Caitlin will always be her person. Blume proves this in the tough situations she throws these characters into.
I love watching the evolution of Vix. She begins as a quiet, shy 12-year old that is dying for the attention of the popular girl. When she gets it, she buries parts of herself in fear of losing the friendship. As she gets older, she pulls away some, possibly in an attempt to find herself, or maybe she doesn’t feel as willing to play her role anymore. When Caitlin commits the ultimate betrayal, Vix doesn’t see it that way. She sees it as Caitlin doing something she needs to do and I’m not sure she can even explain herself how she feels about it. Eventually, toward the end, Vix has blossomed into a soft woman, one who loves and lives and laughs. And finally lets out all of her feelings, telling the world what she thinks of Caitlin, and finally takes control.
I’ve been laughed at for the things I read. I’ve been criticized, mocked, and teased; but when you love books, love the characters and their stories, see the way they weave and grow and even diminish, you realize that the only thing that matters is...your love of books. Stories that take you away from the everyday life. Lessons you may have learned, conclusions you may have reached. I love the books I love for a reason. And they are all a part of who I am.
Happy Reading!

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