REVIEW: Summer Crossing by David Baldacci

Format:  Audiobook (CD)
Genre:  General Fiction
ISBN:  1609412958
Published:  2011 (audio)
Setting:  Ohio, Arizona, South Carolina

Rating:  4 of 5 stars

Back of the book Blurb:

It’s almost Christmas, but there is no joy in the house of terminally ill Jack and his family. With only a short time left to live, he spends his last days preparing to say goodbye to his devoted wife, Lizzie, and their three children. Then, unthinkably, tragedy strikes again: Lizzie is killed in a car accident. With no one able to care for them, the children are separated from each other and sent to live with family members around the country. Just when all seems lost, Jack begins to recover in a miraculous turn of events. He rises from what should have been his deathbed, determined to bring his fractured family back together. Struggling to rebuild their lives after Lizzie’s death, he reunites everyone at Lizzie’s childhood home on the oceanfront in South Carolina. And there, over one unforgettable summer, Jack will begin to learn to love again, and he and his children will learn how to become a family once more.

My Thoughts:

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, despite the fact that it was a fairly predictable, sappy story.  It is a perfect summer read, and that is exactly what I needed at the time.  I had just finished A Death in the Family by James Agee, which also dealt with loss and grief, but it was on a much deeper, much more serious, much more profound level.  I need a lighter, quicker, less emotionally exacting read, and while this is also a story of grief and loss, Baldacci delivers a nearly effortless summer novel.

This is the first Baldacci book I have read, and I do like his way with words.  I like that he can deal with a hard subject without ripping the reader to emotional shreds.  I like that the story was fairly face paced, and that it focused on an entire family’s reaction to and recovery from grief over an unexpected death.  I also liked that Baldacci moved the characters through sadness, anger, depression, etc. without getting so bogged down that the story suffered.  I liked that it ended on a positive note, but that getting to that point involved some drama.

Sure, it is a fairly formulaic novel…predictable, even.  Perhaps not the typical fare for Baldacci, but pretty standard for it’s genre.  Baldacci, however, is a writer worth getting to know better, and this was a good, easy, and (dare I say it) even fun start for me.  I would recommend it…especially if you’re going on vacation and looking for a book that entertains without exhausting the reader.

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