Text and Photo by Nora Vasconcelos
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.