I recently re-read The Last Summer of You and Me by Ann Brashares, and this book gave me a lot to think about how sometimes our feelings and emotions seem to be stronger, deeper or easier to be expressed when we’re in a different place.
The novel, originally published in 2007, tells the story of Alice and Paul, who meet on Fire Island, where their families keep their summer houses.
Although they’ve been friends since they were kids, the reunion after some years of being apart makes them nervous, as somehow their feelings toward each other have started to change from a simple friendship to a kind of love they both seem to want and, at the same time, to resist.
So it’s this summer, apart from their daily responsabilities related to their schools and their plans for the future, which gives them the chance to explore their emotions and clarify their feelings.
It’s also here where Brashares shows one more time how well she knows the changing emotions of young people, the same as she did in 2001 when she published The sisterhood of the traveling pants.
While going through the pages of The Last Summer of You and Me, it’s so easy to identify oneself with the emotions of the characters, as if they were alive. The same as when one listens to a close friend who’s looking for some advice.
As the story continues, the long walks on the beach, the sights of the sea, the trips to the town that give Alice and Paul the answers they’re looking for, not aware that very soon their lives are going to take an unexpected turn, one one trip back to New York city makes them deals with a crude reallity that takes their life apart.
During this time in the city, Alice and Paul’s seem to harden their hearts, and with this, their lives turn gray, the same as the color of the buildings that suround them, up to a point in which things look very bad for their relationship.
It takes another trip to their beloved island to help them understand that the time they’ve spent apart, has actually helped them to grow their love stronger and to get a clearer picture of what they expect of the future.
It was when I was a little girl when I first discovered that clowns might be something children could get afraid of.
Those were the times when after several times watching the circus shows, I happened to watch, by a mere accident, some scenes of the movie It.
I was then, when I also learn that Stephen King was the master of terror and for that reason, I thought I’d never read a book written by him.
However, as it always happens, life has a funny way to take us to unexpected paths, and the same as I happened to watch the IT scenes by a mere accident, one day I happened to watch on TV the movie Misery, based on King’s novel under the same title.
As shocked as I was for all the terrible things that happened to the kidnapped writer, I barely moved during the whole movie until it finished.
This movie left a deep impression in my mind, however I didn’t make much of it until many years later when a good friend of mine made me watch The Shawshank Redemption.
With not more expectations besides the enthusiasm of my friend, I watched the movie with great attention, up to the point when the intense drama caught my whole attention.
I like the story so much that I got curious about it and immediately I check on it on the internet, to learn (for my surprise) that the film was based on the book Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank Redemption, by Stephen King.
That moment completely changed my perception about Mr. King’s work.
I was absolutely impressed by the depth of the story and the extremely detailed work made by the author to create this intense characters with all shades of emotions and thoughts.
I was also then when I remember that while watching Misery, I had the exact same impression. In both cases, it was like being inside the story, like a silent witness, living intensely the drama, sharing the suffering of the characters, the same as one does when a dear friend is in trouble.
This thoughts made me see Stephen King’s work from a new perspective. Of course, I still avoid the horror genre, and I’m still refusing to read most of King’s work, but I’ve come to the terms that there are many things that one as a writer can learn from him, and, of course, Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank, is already one of my favorite books.