Grade: 3.5 stars out of 5
Published: May 10, 2012; paperback
Source: unsolicited ARC from publisher
What better way to spend your summer than figuring what you want to do for the rest of your life and love it too.
“Elizabeth Margaret--better known as Em--has always known what her life would contain: an internship at her father's firm, a degree from Harvard, and a career as a lawyer. The only problem is, it's not what she wants. So when she gets the opportunity to get away and spend a month with the aunt she never knew, she jumps at the chance. While there, Em learns that her family has some pretty significant secrets. And then there's Cade, the laid-back local surfer boy who seems to be everything Em isn't. Naturally, she can't resist him, and as their romance blossoms, Em feels that for the first time ever, she is really living life on her own terms.”The Summer My Life Began is a relaxing summer read with light hand of poor family relations.
Em spends her summer doing what she loves and what I somewhat enjoy doing, cooking. While TThe Summer My Life Began doesn’t include recipes, there are some inspirational dishes that can be mimicked. Delicious sounding dishes that I’m sure will make the taste buds tingle.
One thing that I love is how the book juxtaposes Em’s internal conflicts with her external ones. Just as Em finds her calling, family relationship starts to crumble. On one hand, I love that Em’s following her passion and that cooking seems to be so right for her. I, for one, would love to find something I am great at, can make a career from, and have so much passion for it. On the other hand, I don’t envy the pressure from the family to be perfect and something I’m not. Ultimately I was rooting for Em to be a chef and get out from her parents’ steel wings.
Her summer at her aunt’s place that sparked this new Em is a beautiful setting to the novel. I love how Greenland spent some scenes traveling throughout the town and giving it more atmosphere. The blossoming of Em’s new romantic relationship with Cade is sizzling. Cade is the local bad boy with a troubled past and a great future ahead of him. I was slightly iffy about Cade and Em because it seemed almost too soon and too quick, but the relationship grew on me.
The big hush-hush secret that runs through the family can be easily predicted. It is quite hinted throughout the novel. I didn’t mind it as much as others, despite it’s somewhat being a cliché, mostly because I never saw The Summer My Life Began as a life-changing novel. It’s a summer read meant for readers to enjoy, not dissected. I enjoyed it.
Read The Summer My Life Began if you’re looking for something light, but with a surprising hearty bite at the last minute. Some parts of the novel can be fleshed out more and I wished that the emotions can be stronger, but all-in-all a good read.