A Black Cat Book Review
Summer Sisters by Judy Blume
Victoria Leonard and Caitlin Somers met in the sixth grade in Santa Fe. Two different girls from two very different families and backgrounds. Victoria, Vix, is the daughter of hard-working parents who never seem to have enough of anything, time, money, love, and too many demands. Vix is quiet, thoughtful, and always careful. She has learned to keep what she thinks and feels to herself. Caitlin, however, is the out-spoken wild child of wealthy divorced parents. In the winter she lives with her mother and in the summer with her father. She rarely thinks before speaking and always says what she thinks.
As unlikely as it seems Caitlin asks Vix to spend the summer with her at her father’s home on Martha’s Vineyard. They become summer friends…summer sisters. Every summer until they graduate from high school they spend together on the island. As cautious as Vix is she follows the reckless Caitlin living a much different life during the summer than she does at home in Santa Fe.
Over the years Vix grows up, plans for the future, and falls in love. During their last summer together on the island Caitlin’s secrets and deception take a toll on the friendship. Though they remain friends it is not the same. Caitlin doesn’t change but Vix has been hurt and is wary of Caitlin .
Vix graduates from Harvard, with help from Caitlin’s parents, and pursues a career. She is determined to move on from that last summer at the Vineyard and have a successful life, a good life. Caitlin travels the world in search of thrills and excitement. When she finally finds some stability and purpose in her life she is shattered by death and returns to the Vineyard home of her father. Once again she asks Vix to come to the island…and once again she breaks Vix’s heart.
In an exploration of family and friendship, love and betrayal, Blume brings to the reader a story that asks; what are the boundaries of friendship and love and can forgiveness heal a heart damaged by betrayal?
The book is transparent in some areas; the self-destruction of Caitlin and Vix’s need to be confident and successful. But there are layers that as they are peeled away reveal depths of despair and longing that are compelling. The parents of both girls come and go throughout the story but are essential to understanding Vix and Caitlin.