Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Audio Book Review: That Summer by Jennifer Weiner

Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: May 11, 2021
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Other Books By Author: Hungry Heart
and Big Summer 
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars 



Goodreads says, "Daisy Shoemaker can’t sleep. With a thriving cooking business, full schedule of volunteer work, and a beautiful home in the Philadelphia suburbs, she should be content. But her teenage daughter can be a handful; her husband can be distant, her work can feel trivial, and she has lots of acquaintances, but no real friends. Still, Daisy knows she’s got it good. So why is she up all night?  While Daisy tries to identify the root of her dissatisfaction, she’s also receiving misdirected emails meant for a woman named Diana Starling, whose email address is just one punctuation mark away from her own. While Daisy’s driving carpools, Diana is chairing meetings. While Daisy’s making dinner, Diana’s making plans to reorganize corporations. Diana’s glamorous, sophisticated, single-lady life is miles away from Daisy’s simpler existence. When an apology leads to an invitation, the two women meet and become friends. But, as they get closer, we learn that their connection was not completely accidental. Who IS this other woman, and what does she want with Daisy?  From the manicured Main Line of Philadelphia to the wild landscape of the Outer Cape, written with Jennifer Weiner’s signature wit and sharp observations, THAT SUMMER is a story about surviving our pasts, confronting our futures, and the sustaining bonds of friendship."

Daisy Shoemaker has hit a rut and she's feeling uninspired. Her husband is patronizing and much older than her, her daughter is a brooding teen, and her best friend has died of cancer.  Then she receives an email that is meant for another person. A one Diana Sterling. Diana is the polar opposite of Daisy. She has a booming career, she's cosmopolitan, and is a powerful single woman.  The email was for a 50th birthday party that sounds extremely sophisticated, so naturally Daisy is intrigued.  When Daisy replies back about the snafu, the two end up talking via email and they actually form a friendship.  Daisy even meets up with Diana in the city and this truly starts to open her eyes up to another life that she could have had if she stuck with her education and didn't leave college to marry her husband, Hal.  However, Diana has some major ulterior motives and isn't exactly who she says she is.  Jennifer Weiner's That Summer is an engaging and timely novel that isn't your typical run-of-the-mill beach read. 

At first, I was getting a little confused regarding who was Daisy and who was Diana in That Summer. I am wondering if that is because the audio version didn't indicate it or if Weiner did that on purpose. Nevertheless,  Diana and Daisy's stories are not told chronologically; instead, Weiner uses flash backs to fully develop her story, so at times I was wondering which "Diana" we were dealing with. Readers are taken back to fifteen year old Diana's summer at Cape Cod as this is the summer that impacts her life greatly. This is the catalyst that sends the story in motion; however, readers aren't privy to what happened to Diana right away. Weiner slowly reveals the events, but it's easy to sort of piece it together.

Daisy is a character that I think most mothers can relate to in That Summer. Weiner excels at creating relatable characters. Daisy is in a rut and is questioning how she got here. She is wondering about that other path she could have taken. I think most women can relate to this in one way or another. When Diana and Daisy form a friendship, it seems organic, but slowly readers realize there's more here at play than just an innocent email.  

I loved the setting of Cape Cod in That Summer and even the Main Line; however, this isn't a fluffy beach read. There's a bigger message in this novel that deals with the #metoo movement and I think Weiner handles it well. While I was hoping for more of a beach read vibe and less preaching about something that feels ripped from the headlines, I still appreciated what Weiner was trying to accomplish and I especially enjoyed her focus on strong female friendships during difficult times.

The real star of the audio book for me was Sutton Foster. I adore her, so listening to her read That Summer was an absolute pleasure. She was perfect for the story.

So, if you enjoy women's fiction with a strong message, definitely try out That Summer. Let me know if you have read this novel and your thoughts in the comments below.



  1. I haven't read Jennifer Weiner in awhile - it's a bit of a bummer that it was less of a beach read than expected, but I'm glad you found things to enjoy!

    1. Thanks, Angela! Her books have been really hit or miss for me lately. I'll be interested in your thoughts! Thanks for dropping by.


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