Monday, June 15, 2009

Driftwood Summer by Patti Callahan Henry

Patti Callahan Henry never disappoints. One day I picked up one of her books off a New Fiction table, and two chapters in and I just knew I would read all of her books. I devoured her latest book in one day finishing it at 4 in the morning.  I am not sure I can put my finger on exactly what makes her stories so readable, but her characters and settings always easily draw me in.

This book focuses on the relationship between sisters, something I cannot relate to at all as I only have brothers. But I still find it inherently amusing. I suppose a lot of women's fiction focuses on the relationship between sisters, in fact Kristin Hannah's last book focused on three sisters as well.  And yet, Callahan Henry's books never seem cliche or derivative.  Even though many of her books seem to replay similar ideas or conflicts, they are each unique.

The book also focuses on a small town book store, something I know I would love. I loved my local bookstore as a child--it was called The Corner Book Shop and I spent most of my childhood weekends inside its doors.

At the heart of it this book focuses on how the events of adolescence and childhood stay with an individual - something focused on in most of Callahan Henry's books. She understands young love in such an obvious way.  This book also focuses on the sandwich generation, and adults dealing with the sickness of their parents.  Callahan Henry grapples with so many issues in this book, and yet the heart of the story is the deep friendship between Mack and Riley and the rift between Riley and Maisy. I suppose it isn't a new story - sisters fight over boy, boy chooses beauty over best friend. And yet, as I said before Callahan Henry's stories always seem new.

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