Breakout Novel Explores Marriage and Life

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A marriage gone off the rails takes center stage in this thoroughly entertaining novel about whom we choose to love and why and the endless ways we toil to tear it all down.

Claire and Don have reached the precipice of forty. They have two young kids, the eldest not quite yet a teen, headed for a financial hardship that will rock their world.

As summer befalls their Iowa neighborhood, the mercury rises to create the perfect storm for the emergence of two much younger characters and the opportunity for both Don and Claire to sow some wild oats. Raw needs are exposed like nerve endings masking deeper desires that go unheeded.

Add one all-knowing and secret keeping old woman to further complicate matters.

Bakopoulos is spot on. His characters are as embarrassingly real and relatable as they are cringeworthy. Between Don and Claire, readers will find Don the more likable of the two even in the midst of making some very bad decisions. Claire, his insecure and vain wife, lives in a perpetual whine about what she has been missing since meeting Don. Fixated on whether she is still hot enough to compete with the twenty-year-olds in their suburban college town, Claire’s flaunt-it-at-the-town-pool mentality incites the worst kind of bad mother judgment as the kids are left to fend mostly for themselves while their parents seriously flounder.

The end unravels majestically and perhaps with a glimmer of something that could be defined as hope as major insights are collected like fireflies along the way.

Summerlong (June 2015) is a great summertime or anytime read.

Reviewed by Maria Ryan

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five-stars
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Overall: five-stars

About Libby

Libby started with Author Exposure as the book review editor and has evolved into the AE site editor. She was the creator and interviewer for the What's Next feature and still manages to squeeze in reviews of her own.

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