Being True to Yourself and Finding What Matters Most in Life
Updated: Aug 1
Jennifer Weiner has been writing novels since 2001. I think that I have read almost all fourteen of them since that time. Last summer I read, Mrs. Everything and loved the shift from her usual beach reads to something much more serious. I was looking forward to this summer’s release ironically called Big Summer, which is definitely more of the usual Jennifer Weiner style. Now that we have all almost made it to July, we definitely need Jennifer Weiner’s wit and self-deprecating humor.
I will say that I am only giving this book three stars because it started out as a very slow read, but then halfway through there is a twist in the plot and I was hooked.
Big Summer is the story of Daphne Berg, a plus-size influencer, who reconnects with her estranged former best friend, Drue Lathrop Cavanaugh. Drue is the perfect girl; popular, beautiful, and wealthy but she also has a very mean streak. Throughout high school and part of college, she would be nice to Daphne when it suited her but counteracted it with downright cruelty. By the time they got to college, Daphne had had enough and ended their friendship after an incident at a bar that changed everything for Daphne.
One day, six years later, Drue comes begging for forgiveness. She also tells Daphne that she is getting married and she wants her to be her Maid of Honor. While Daphne knows better than to trust Drue, she is swayed by her glamorous ways and the thought of her over-the-top wedding. The wedding is sure to cost well over a million dollars and will be the event of the season. What influencer could say no? And this time Daphne would be ready and armed. She would never let Drue hurt her again.
Before she knows it, Daphne is whisked away to Cape Cod for Drue’s wedding. As an added detail, Stuart Lowe, the groom, is a former Reality TV star. The wedding will be covered by every major magazine and news outlet.
When Daphne arrives in Cape Cod for the wedding everything is as perfect as she could have imagined. Every last detail was clearly thought out right down to the towels in the bathroom of the beautiful beach house that she will be sharing with Drue for the weekend.
The two friends get pampered and coiffed for what is set up to be the most beautiful rehearsal dinner; the setting, the weather, and the perfect bride and groom. Drue and Daphne even get some amazing snapshots splashing in the water and Daphne is thrilled to post it on her social media. As the rehearsal dinner gets underway with the oysters chilled to perfection, things end up taking a turn for the worst. Before anyone knows what is happening, there is a big public fight, a runaway bride, and a murder. What started out as a beach read, suddenly becomes a whodunit murder mystery!
Big Summer shows us how social media often portrays a perfect life that is far from it when you look beneath the surface. The people who publicly portray their lives as so perfect and pristine actually have a sense of sadness and emptiness within them. Thousands of followers may believe that you have it all, when in reality you may be the loneliest person in the world.
The sad thing is that other girls and followers believe that you have it all, which causes depression and anxiety and an overall feeling of worthlessness for people following these so-called “influencers”. Living life in public and online often ends up being nothing short of a disaster.
Overall, Big Summer is a novel about friendship and forgiveness, about starting over and being true to yourself. Be sure to pick it up before you head to the beach this summer.
By: Jennifer Weiner
Publication Date: May 5, 2020