I’m so glad the guy I’m seeing loaned this to me (even if it did throw off my schedule a bit) and I was even happier to find out that I have a Jane Austen fan-fiction novel on my shelf he wrote, Jane Bites Back. I was hesitant to read it with the whole vampire thing, but I’m looking forward to it now I’ve read this one!
I’m confused (and sad) about why there aren’t more reviews of this awesome novel on Goodreads! On the other hand, I’m glad that there aren’t that many reviews because people would leave idiot responses (including gifs) about it and then I’d just be grumpy. Not only did I love this book because of Ford’s incredibly witty and hilarious one-liners, but I enjoyed it because of how many of the books he referenced that I’ve read. From Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to Maupin’s Tales of the City. I’ve clearly earned my “gay-card,” according to some of the characters.
Add in that Ford writes a broad and diverse group of characters, I couldn’t help but fall in love with all of them. Seriously go read some of the quotes below and you’ll giggle. Honestly, I think my favorite quote of the entire novel was
“And why, she thought suddenly, did they have to call it a fucking wand? It wasn’t as if she was a fairy godmother or something. The word irritated her unreasonably, her annoyance increased by the fact that not only was the absorbent urine pad sufficiently soaked, but so was her entire hand.” (loc. 5479)
It’s in reference to a pregnancy test and I had to stop reading for about five minutes because I could not stop giggling!
Where Ford really drew me in was his ability to write characters readers (specifically me) could relate to. I mean I was a cross somewhere between Josh and Reid, and needed all of the advice Emmeline gave Toby no matter how many times I’ve heard it before,
“‘Falling in love means giving someone the power to break your heart,’ she said. ‘If they break it less often than they make you happy, then you’re okay.'” (loc. 2781)
Add in that one of his character’s thoughts on her painting hit home to me as I get ready to start NaNoWriMo:
“Marly turned to the blank canvas. Looking at it made her feel sick to her stomach. It was a feeling she remembered all too well, one that had first hit her several months before she stopped painting altogether. It was a feeling of not knowing where to begin, of the overwhelming unimportance of beginning because whatever came after was going to disappoint. Now, sensing it again, she wanted nothing more than to just put the paints and brushes away and go back to her office, where she knew a pile of paperwork awaited her attention.” (loc. 4969)
And I realized that this was definitely the right time for me to read this book.
I haven’t even come close to talking about the full cast of characters and stories included! I keep trying to think of something negative about the book (as I do with all responses no matter how great the book is), but I can’t really. Maybe there were a few too many characters or stereotypes, but honestly it all worked for me. I can’t wait to read more of Ford’s books similar to this one!
Recommendation: Anyone could and should read this! I definitely couldn’t help but think of it as an updated Tales of the City in both structure and characters. However, Last Summer definitely held its own and brought the New England flair to the series. This is just one more excellent example of how diverse the gay community can be when people don’t realize it. It’s as if Ford held up a mirror and said WTF people, let’s sort it out.
Opening Line: “I could go back.”
Closing Line: “Josh looked at him for a moment, then leaned in and kissed him. ‘Yes,’ he said when they parted. ‘I did.'” (Whited out.)
Additional Quotes from Last Summer
“It hadn’t seemed fair that while his life was falling apart, somewhere in the world Celine Dion was being allowed to record new love songs.” (loc. 169)
“That was one of the things she missed most about being twenty, the ability to be irresponsibly impulsive.” (loc. 248)
“…with Doug, he felt as if he were holding a lifetime in his hands whenever they touched.” (loc. 1002)
“Maybe the energy required to fight thousands of years of heterosexuality was more than she had in her.” (loc. 1308)
“How often had he begun to read a book about a gay man ‘well past the age of being a beauty’ and then discovered that the narrator was several years younger than himself? These books infuriated him, and he’d been determined to prove them wrong.” (loc. 2413)
“Josh, however, firmly believed that no man over twenty-five should go out in public wearing anything with the A&F logo on it…” (loc. 3007)
“‘I wonder why they always use fireworks in movies to symbolize falling in love,’ said Josh. ‘I mean, think about it. They’re really beautiful, and they make your heart beat faster when you see them, but when they fade out they’re gone. There’s nothing left of them.’ ‘You remember how they made you feel,’ said Reilly, surprising himself. ‘You remember. Until the next time. Then you experience it all over again.’ (loc. 4075)
“A friend of mine says that gay men spend their twenties trying to be the guy everyone wants to fuck, their thirties being the guy everybody wants to marry, and the rest of their lives chasing after the guys in their twenties and thirties.” (loc. 5609)