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Archive for the ‘The Summer of Letting Go’ Category

A child’s guilt can be overwhelming and so it is with fifteen year old Francesca (Frankie) Schnell. SummerOfLettingGoFour years ago, while at the beach with her parents, her four year old brother, Simon, drowned. She and Simon were building a sand castle. She went to the beach blanket where her parents were sleeping, looking for food. When she turned around her brother was at the water’s edge, then he was caught by a wave. Frankie was stunned into inaction. Her father, hearing her scream, runs into the water but Simon couldn’t be saved. Frankie hasn’t swam since.

It is four years later. Frankie’s guilt is still in full force. She thinks her mother, who ignores her and spends most of her time at a foundation created in Simon’s memory, blames her and hates her. She’s jealous of her girlfriend, Lisette, who is gorgeous and has the boyfriend that Frankie yearns for.

Having snuck into the local country club pool (for reasons I won’t tell you), she sees a four year old boy dive into the deep end of the pool and look like he’s going to drown. She is paralyzed into inaction and Peter, the lifeguard, jumps in. As the boy’s mother drags him away, they almost bump into Frankie and the little boy asks “Who she?” Frankie introduces herself. It seems that his name in Frankie as well.

The next day, Francesca is called into the office of the pool’s owner. Afraid she’s going to be arrested for sneaking into the pool, she’s relieved when she finds out Frankie’s mother wants her to be a mother’s helper and help with Frankie during the summer.

All of this would generate a so-so book, but there’s more that pulled me into this book, The Summer of Letting Go. Little Frankie is the same age as Simon was when he drowned. Frankie looks like Simon, likes frogs just like Simon and has that same fearlessness. There’s more that I won’t tell you about.

Polisner explores the possibility of reincarnation/transmigration. Is it possible that Simon’s soul migrated into little Frankie? An interesting possibility. She also explores how people cope with pain. Each person in the Schnell household has dealt dramatically differently with Simon’s death. And finally, Polisner deals with a young girl’s self image and self doubt. Is Frankie pretty, especially compared to Lisette? Would any boy like her, especially the one she likes…who happens to be Lisette’s boyfriend?

The characters are all clear cut. They each have distinct personalities. I think it’s hard sometimes to create a four year old character, but little Frankie is cute, exasperating, funny, sad, just like a four year old and his sidekick dog, Potato, is just as cute.

There is a lot to think about in The Summer of Letting Go but Polisner does a fine job of putting all together in a cohesive, interesting, fun read. More that just a beach read, this book will make you think….which is what a good book should do. So, don’t let this summer go by without reading The Summer of Letting Go.

 

 

 

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