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A tremendously appealing and mordantly funny novel for fans of Richard Russo and Curtis Sittenfeld, about friendship, compassion, and social privilege.  Summer People tells the story of Nathan Empson, a young college dropout and aspiring graphic novelist who has just accepted the most unusual job of his life. In exchange for serving as a summer "caretaker" for Ellen Broderic A tremendously appealing and mordantly funny novel for fans of Richard Russo and Curtis Sittenfeld, about friendship, compassion, and social privilege.  Summer People tells the story of Nathan Empson, a young college dropout and aspiring graphic novelist who has just accepted the most unusual job of his life. In exchange for serving as a summer "caretaker" for Ellen Broderick, the eccentric matriarch of Brightonfield Cove, Maine, Nathan will earn a generous salary and gain access to one of the last bastions of old New England wealth—an exclusive coastal community the likes of which he has never known. It seems at first like easy money: accompanying Ellen to the immaculate Alnombak Golf and Tennis Club, or joining her for an evening of cocktails and conversation at a neighbor's mansion overlooking the anchored yachts of Albans Bay. But not everyone in the community is welcoming—or even civil—to someone they regard as an interloper. So Nathan finds solace in the companionship of a philosophical, ex-punk Episcopalian pastor, and the alluring nanny of the pastor's children, a feisty, dark-eyed beauty named Leah. Nathan invites Leah for walks and late-night picnics on the beach, yet as his relationship with her deepens, he finds it difficult to ignore his employer's unexpectedly unnerving behavior. With each escalating mishap, a new aspect of Ellen's colorful past comes to light, exposing the secret lives of her old friends, flames, and enemies, as well as the story behind a scandalous incident Nathan must prevent her from repeating—however inept his efforts may be. In this big-hearted, immensely satisfying debut novel, Nathan must contend with competitors for Leah's affection and with an increasing suspicion that Ellen needs more help than he can provide. But sounding the alarm over Ellen's condition would mean leaving her beachside home, his summer job, and the romance that may well change his life.


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A tremendously appealing and mordantly funny novel for fans of Richard Russo and Curtis Sittenfeld, about friendship, compassion, and social privilege.  Summer People tells the story of Nathan Empson, a young college dropout and aspiring graphic novelist who has just accepted the most unusual job of his life. In exchange for serving as a summer "caretaker" for Ellen Broderic A tremendously appealing and mordantly funny novel for fans of Richard Russo and Curtis Sittenfeld, about friendship, compassion, and social privilege.  Summer People tells the story of Nathan Empson, a young college dropout and aspiring graphic novelist who has just accepted the most unusual job of his life. In exchange for serving as a summer "caretaker" for Ellen Broderick, the eccentric matriarch of Brightonfield Cove, Maine, Nathan will earn a generous salary and gain access to one of the last bastions of old New England wealth—an exclusive coastal community the likes of which he has never known. It seems at first like easy money: accompanying Ellen to the immaculate Alnombak Golf and Tennis Club, or joining her for an evening of cocktails and conversation at a neighbor's mansion overlooking the anchored yachts of Albans Bay. But not everyone in the community is welcoming—or even civil—to someone they regard as an interloper. So Nathan finds solace in the companionship of a philosophical, ex-punk Episcopalian pastor, and the alluring nanny of the pastor's children, a feisty, dark-eyed beauty named Leah. Nathan invites Leah for walks and late-night picnics on the beach, yet as his relationship with her deepens, he finds it difficult to ignore his employer's unexpectedly unnerving behavior. With each escalating mishap, a new aspect of Ellen's colorful past comes to light, exposing the secret lives of her old friends, flames, and enemies, as well as the story behind a scandalous incident Nathan must prevent her from repeating—however inept his efforts may be. In this big-hearted, immensely satisfying debut novel, Nathan must contend with competitors for Leah's affection and with an increasing suspicion that Ellen needs more help than he can provide. But sounding the alarm over Ellen's condition would mean leaving her beachside home, his summer job, and the romance that may well change his life.

30 review for Summer People

  1. 4 out of 5

    Dustin

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book was a disappointment. I guess part of it is I thought there would be more mystery, but there wasn't much mystery after the first few chapters. There was no major character development. The main character starts off as a self-absorbed tool and only become more of a self-absorbed tool as the book goes on. You don't learn too much about the old lady's life. You never learn why or what is causing the reverend's wife's depression. There is no resolution at all, either! What does Nathan do af This book was a disappointment. I guess part of it is I thought there would be more mystery, but there wasn't much mystery after the first few chapters. There was no major character development. The main character starts off as a self-absorbed tool and only become more of a self-absorbed tool as the book goes on. You don't learn too much about the old lady's life. You never learn why or what is causing the reverend's wife's depression. There is no resolution at all, either! What does Nathan do after he leaves? What happens to the old lady? What happens to the girl? What happens to the reverend? Overall, I was disappointed in this book and was so happy the day I finished it and could move on to a more rewarding book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl S.

    I think I bought this book because the cover looked appealing to me in the middle of a Minnesota winter. Big mistake. It's taking me forever to read it because the story just isn't very interesting and the main character (male) seems to be a cross between a whimp and a dip. Finally finished this book. Basically there was not much of a story and the characters were very blah. Only finished because I didn't have anything else with me to read on breaks at work. I think I bought this book because the cover looked appealing to me in the middle of a Minnesota winter. Big mistake. It's taking me forever to read it because the story just isn't very interesting and the main character (male) seems to be a cross between a whimp and a dip. Finally finished this book. Basically there was not much of a story and the characters were very blah. Only finished because I didn't have anything else with me to read on breaks at work.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sheri

    Summer People is a fantastic read. Nathan Empson is College drop out, with part-time job at a local library, and has hopes of becoming an artist. With the recent break up of his long time girl friend, and dead end job he needs a break from reality. When offered a summer job as caretaker of Ellen Broderick, a wealthy eccentric widow, he feels this is the break he needs. The job appears to be simple, but he soon finds out it won't be as easy as he thought. He finds Ellen is not of sound mind, and n Summer People is a fantastic read. Nathan Empson is College drop out, with part-time job at a local library, and has hopes of becoming an artist. With the recent break up of his long time girl friend, and dead end job he needs a break from reality. When offered a summer job as caretaker of Ellen Broderick, a wealthy eccentric widow, he feels this is the break he needs. The job appears to be simple, but he soon finds out it won't be as easy as he thought. He finds Ellen is not of sound mind, and needs constant supervision. The people of the affluent Maine town are not all friendly. Add a beautiful Nanny, a Minister with personal demons of his own, and a past of secrets in Ellen's life, making the story emotion packed. Nathan finds himself questioning his own future, and major decisions on what to do with his life. Summer People is a tale of friendship, heart ache, family devotion and love. It makes a perfect summer read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I have finally figured out what this book was about. I read it about two weeks ago and I had already written one review but then, today while I was cooking (maybe I should cook more often), I figured it out and this epiphany explained why I liked it but didn't like it at the same time. This book is about a guy who is out of his depth. He is out of his depth socially in this exclusive Maine, summer community. He's out of depth intellectually with the woman he wants to date. He's taken a job that h I have finally figured out what this book was about. I read it about two weeks ago and I had already written one review but then, today while I was cooking (maybe I should cook more often), I figured it out and this epiphany explained why I liked it but didn't like it at the same time. This book is about a guy who is out of his depth. He is out of his depth socially in this exclusive Maine, summer community. He's out of depth intellectually with the woman he wants to date. He's taken a job that he's not qualified for and he's not able to handle the challenge. Maybe this explains why he's a college drop out who had been subsisting on a part-time library job (he was shelving books which probably made him feel superior because he felt he could do better)and why he writes graphic novels that have no point. He spends a lot of time defending the graphic novel genre as more than comic books but admits to himself that the only book he's actually produced is no tour de force. I must have liked this book because I kept reading it until I finished it but I didn't like any of the characters very much (even the main character). Now that I realize that I'm not necessarily supposed ot liek anyone but to see how easy it is to be out of your depth, I have a better understanding of the book and what the author was trying to do.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rich

    I read this novel in spite of the poor reviews on goodreads, and while I thought the reviews were dead on throughout the first half of the book, I'm glad I kept reading. An early twenty-something young man is hired to be a driver for an elderly woman as a summer job in a small coastal New England town. Between not knowing his role as care giver, looking for resolution on past loves, and trying to fit in with the summering wealthy neighbors, the protagonist, Nathan, has the summer to figure some th I read this novel in spite of the poor reviews on goodreads, and while I thought the reviews were dead on throughout the first half of the book, I'm glad I kept reading. An early twenty-something young man is hired to be a driver for an elderly woman as a summer job in a small coastal New England town. Between not knowing his role as care giver, looking for resolution on past loves, and trying to fit in with the summering wealthy neighbors, the protagonist, Nathan, has the summer to figure some things out for himself. Sort of a coming of age story, Nathan finds that he gets more questions than answers in the not-so-quiet little town. I found myself extremely bored with the beginning of the book, and didn't find the characters very deep or interesting at all. As a matter of fact, much like many reviews I read about the book, I detested Nathan and all the other characters in the first half of the book. Nathan is a needy, unsure, and frankly whiney protagonist. The woman he is to help for the summer, Ellen, is rather drab herself. I had no interest in either of their stories. Luckily I continued reading. Along the way, Nathan is confronted with a girl that he is really interested in, some unwelcoming residents, and some interesting events that make Nathan a very real character. While Nathan may be whiney, and frankly a bit of a cry baby who at times I found hard sympathizing with, he revealed a likeable side that I came to understand as being very real. So often we see novels written from the woman's point of view dealing with love and feelings, that we forget there are men just like Nathan living amongst us. Quite frankly, myself and many other men at that age could probably relate very well to what turns out to be a very sympathetic hero. It is Nathan's immaturity and romantic ignorance that makes him likeable. Basically he ends up looking for love in all the wrong places, but is too immature to know any different. Ultimately, he is just lonely and vulnerable. Even though I rooted for Nathan throughout the second half of the book, I also wanted to scream at him and tell him to start acting like a "man"! It's in his journey that I realize that is exactly what he is trying to accomplish. As my outlook on the novel began to change, I noticed a young man that is just trying to deal with his own emotions, failures and how he can move forward. The novel became so fresh and unique at this point that I couldn't help but find humor, sympathy, and encouragement throughout the story. In terms of the novel, it became a joy to read about a man that is so authentic. There are problems with the novel, no doubt. From the poor supporting characters, to the slow beginning, to the unresolved issues, many things could have improved my overall enjoyment of the book. But I have to say that by the end of it, I was amazed at how the author was able to completely change my thinking and really make it an excellent read for me.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Starry

    Well, what do you know: there's a male version of "chick lit". I bought this book for $0.99 at a used book store while searching for emergency back-up vacation beach reading material. I paid about $0.98 too much. The plot on the back cover made this novel sound like a modern version of The Great Gatsby. It's not. Instead, the storyline had all the hallmarks of the lite-est, most lit-less chick lit but with a "he" pronoun -- an annoyingly indecisive main character looking for purpose in his young Well, what do you know: there's a male version of "chick lit". I bought this book for $0.99 at a used book store while searching for emergency back-up vacation beach reading material. I paid about $0.98 too much. The plot on the back cover made this novel sound like a modern version of The Great Gatsby. It's not. Instead, the storyline had all the hallmarks of the lite-est, most lit-less chick lit but with a "he" pronoun -- an annoyingly indecisive main character looking for purpose in his young life and defining purpose as romance; the main character agonizing about whether his love interest will notice him; the main character agonizing about how he compares to other men in the eyes of his love interest; the main character agonizing about how he looks in a bathing suit (seriously!!); the main character caught in awkward social situations that make him look bad in front of said love interest. But then "male" the plot so that the main character writes graphic novels (and agonizes about how bad he is at drawing), describes in too much detail his love interest in a bikini, and -- when he sees his love interest with a more manly man than himself, he doesn't just shed tears with his best friend (best friends sooo female) and gain ten pounds from eating chocolate cake. Oh no. Instead, he says, "I feel like I want to destroy something, and then maybe take a long nap." That's man talk (I guess), but it's still chick lit. The author writes well but needs a plot. I hope he tries again.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Beverly

    Eh- this book started off pretty slow, then it started to pick up. Sometimes I felt uncomfortable reading this because the main character Nathan is just so pathetic and gets himself into the worst situations. He doesn't do anything to help himself be better either. He is unemployed and his only friend is this old lady he just started taking care of. I don't even know if she likes him all that much! The book came to a climax when Nathan started to be happy and start to have direction in his life, Eh- this book started off pretty slow, then it started to pick up. Sometimes I felt uncomfortable reading this because the main character Nathan is just so pathetic and gets himself into the worst situations. He doesn't do anything to help himself be better either. He is unemployed and his only friend is this old lady he just started taking care of. I don't even know if she likes him all that much! The book came to a climax when Nathan started to be happy and start to have direction in his life, then it all came crashing down and the book ended kind of abrubtly for me. I understand that the author was trying to use some symbolism at the end, but I think I would have lliekd this book more if there was more closure to it. It's a pretty short read, but I would put it on the bottom of anyone's to read list if they are even interested in reading it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tara

    Books like this one are why I joined "goodreads" in the first place. Guess I need to start logging on and checking out reviews before I buy books. This book was AWFUL! The main character makes you want to shake him really hard and tell him to get a life. The same goes for the depressed priest's wife, the f*bomb dropping priest, the rich old dude that cannot choose between his 2nd wife and Ellen, and the bratty rich kid Thayer. I could not bring myself to waste time and finish the last 60 or so p Books like this one are why I joined "goodreads" in the first place. Guess I need to start logging on and checking out reviews before I buy books. This book was AWFUL! The main character makes you want to shake him really hard and tell him to get a life. The same goes for the depressed priest's wife, the f*bomb dropping priest, the rich old dude that cannot choose between his 2nd wife and Ellen, and the bratty rich kid Thayer. I could not bring myself to waste time and finish the last 60 or so pages. Terrible book...

  9. 5 out of 5

    Georgiann Hennelly

    It seems like easy money, accompanying Ellen to the Golf and Tennis Club or joining her for cocktails at a neighbors mansion. But not everyone welcomes him they regard him as an interloper. So he finds solace in the companionship of an ex punk Episcopalian pastor and the nanny of the pastor,s children Leah.Leah has many suitors so Nathan has to compete for her attencion. And when Ellen,s colorful past comes to light, exposing the secret lives of her old friends, flames, and enemies, as well as t It seems like easy money, accompanying Ellen to the Golf and Tennis Club or joining her for cocktails at a neighbors mansion. But not everyone welcomes him they regard him as an interloper. So he finds solace in the companionship of an ex punk Episcopalian pastor and the nanny of the pastor,s children Leah.Leah has many suitors so Nathan has to compete for her attencion. And when Ellen,s colorful past comes to light, exposing the secret lives of her old friends, flames, and enemies, as well as the story behind a scandalous incident Nathan must prevent her from repeating This is a tremdously appealing and ardently funny story

  10. 5 out of 5

    Adra Cole Benjamin

    Reminiscent of F. Scott Fitzgerald, I love the writing style, the snappy dialogue and the character development. Definitely a great read for the thinking person! Plus, I love how everything and everyone in this book is in transition - from one point of life to another, whether it's the young or the old, or even the ones struggling to bunk depression and mediocrity. The characters are so well developed, especially Nathan, that I can't help but think I got to know him and others on a very personal Reminiscent of F. Scott Fitzgerald, I love the writing style, the snappy dialogue and the character development. Definitely a great read for the thinking person! Plus, I love how everything and everyone in this book is in transition - from one point of life to another, whether it's the young or the old, or even the ones struggling to bunk depression and mediocrity. The characters are so well developed, especially Nathan, that I can't help but think I got to know him and others on a very personal level. This is a book that'll stay with you long after you read the last page.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sheila Samuelson (BookAddict30)

    Rating: 4.5 Stars!! Review: First off, Thank you to my friend Erica for giving me this book!! This book started off slow and improved some til Chapter 10 and than it started to slow down again with way too much explanation for me, like does the author really think that the reader needs to know every characters backstory in the beginning and toward the end of the book?! I wish this book would of kept me drawen in but sadly it lost interest for me. I rated it 4.5 starts cause of how slow it starte Rating: 4.5 Stars!! Review: First off, Thank you to my friend Erica for giving me this book!! This book started off slow and improved some til Chapter 10 and than it started to slow down again with way too much explanation for me, like does the author really think that the reader needs to know every characters backstory in the beginning and toward the end of the book?! I wish this book would of kept me drawen in but sadly it lost interest for me. I rated it 4.5 starts cause of how slow it started and because the ending wasnt a WOW facture for me!! I do want to read more books by this author in the future tho i hope not all his books have their ups and downs as much as this book did!!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Gallup

    I'd go along with another reviewer on this site who said every character in this novel is out of his depth. Everyone, from Nathan, the profoundly confused main character, to his offstage father, is in a situation he doesn't know how to handle. I do not agree with all the low ratings others are giving it. Yes, poor choices are made throughout. A few times I put down the book and closed my eyes in exasperation with things Nathan had just said. But I attribute that to an honest depiction/reliable n I'd go along with another reviewer on this site who said every character in this novel is out of his depth. Everyone, from Nathan, the profoundly confused main character, to his offstage father, is in a situation he doesn't know how to handle. I do not agree with all the low ratings others are giving it. Yes, poor choices are made throughout. A few times I put down the book and closed my eyes in exasperation with things Nathan had just said. But I attribute that to an honest depiction/reliable narrator, because at a similar age and in similar circumstances, I very likely would have performed no better. (I do think the people in this story spend a lot of time gossiping about one another. At least, people in my circle don't do that.) The most interesting figure here is not Nathan but the unconventional pastor who takes a personal interest in him. The guy is unlike any minister I've ever known. At first I supposed they're just more secular, as he is, in New England. Then I decided he had no business being in that line of work. But by the end of the book I saw that, despite being beset with personal problems he cannot solve, the guy is bearing up as well as he can and has enough bandwidth left to offer gentle guidance to others. Sounds like a modern-day hero to me. One of the few enthusiastic reviewers compares this with F. Scott Fitzgerald, and I can see that. However, the author this really reminds me of is Ann Beattie.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Bvnichols

    This is the author's first book. It started out well, but by the time I was done reading, I was sick of the characters and the story. The story lacked depth. It resembled an essay we've all written entitled, "How I Spent my Summer Vacation". The characters were not fully developed. I just didn't care about them. I am not anxious to read anything else by this author. This is the author's first book. It started out well, but by the time I was done reading, I was sick of the characters and the story. The story lacked depth. It resembled an essay we've all written entitled, "How I Spent my Summer Vacation". The characters were not fully developed. I just didn't care about them. I am not anxious to read anything else by this author.

  14. 5 out of 5

    GoldGato

    This was a real summer book, the kind you can read on a beach and then quickly forget. It's not a badly written book at all, I just couldn't get into the main character, who is a young man without a whole lot of anything. Just lazy and self-entitled and self-pitying. Oh right, your typical American male. The cover is cool, though. Yup, that's my review. Book Season = Summer (duh) This was a real summer book, the kind you can read on a beach and then quickly forget. It's not a badly written book at all, I just couldn't get into the main character, who is a young man without a whole lot of anything. Just lazy and self-entitled and self-pitying. Oh right, your typical American male. The cover is cool, though. Yup, that's my review. Book Season = Summer (duh)

  15. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

    3 1/2. This has been on my bookshelf for a long time. I decided to take the challenge of reading a book that scores low. It was a nice change to read something from a male point of view.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Irene

    Brian Groh's debut novel is a must read. "Summer People," has all the ingredients for a splendid read. Nathan, a young man unhappy and unsure of his future plans, blindly accepts a financially-rewarding respite from his mundane life. After a mysterious car accident on the beach the previous year, Ellen requires a caregiver so that she could stay at her summer cottage. Within a private Maine coastal enclave, the summer people seemingly appear to welcome one of their own. Emotionally suspended since Brian Groh's debut novel is a must read. "Summer People," has all the ingredients for a splendid read. Nathan, a young man unhappy and unsure of his future plans, blindly accepts a financially-rewarding respite from his mundane life. After a mysterious car accident on the beach the previous year, Ellen requires a caregiver so that she could stay at her summer cottage. Within a private Maine coastal enclave, the summer people seemingly appear to welcome one of their own. Emotionally suspended since his mother's death, Nathan takes on the unlikely role of caregiver for Ellen. Unaware of Ellen's past history or her precarious mental stability, Nathan reluctantly attends to Ellen's diverse needs. Sprinkled between Nathan's and Ellen's misadventures, a collection of characters weave in and out with positive and negative effects upon both. Nathan is ready to bail out after committing one blunder after another with disastrous consequences. Nathan admits that he is unable to tolerate the unrewarding efforts demanded on a daily basis. Fortunately, the catalyst that triggers Nathan's emotional elevation emerges when he hesitantly attempts to rise above his initial hopelessness. Nathan finally focuses on his need to realize his "bliss," his happiness.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jay

    A very pleasant novel, one that was unexpected. The cover made it look like sizzling summer beach-type book, but it's really a quiet novel, with a very well-done narration. Not a lot happens in the book, it's just a tale of a young man who dropped out of college and not sure what to do, who takes a job looking after an older woman at her summer mansion in Maine. We go for rides, meet the neighbors, go to the country club and it's all filled with observation and clever humor. Meanwhile, Nathan, t A very pleasant novel, one that was unexpected. The cover made it look like sizzling summer beach-type book, but it's really a quiet novel, with a very well-done narration. Not a lot happens in the book, it's just a tale of a young man who dropped out of college and not sure what to do, who takes a job looking after an older woman at her summer mansion in Maine. We go for rides, meet the neighbors, go to the country club and it's all filled with observation and clever humor. Meanwhile, Nathan, the character, falls for the pretty girl next door who is nannying for the summer community's minister, who is a great addition to the book. This is the author's first(from 2007) and so far only book, and I think he should continue to write. This book could've used more editing, some passages went on far too long, but he is an assured writer, who has a unique voice. And the cover of the book I read was awful, not indicative of the content at all, which is a shame, the book should not have geared to the audience it was trying to sell.

  18. 4 out of 5

    E

    Judging books by their covers is, indeed, a reckless activity. I kept being drawn to the cover of this book, with its simple, asymmetrical arrangement of shiny wooden oars of different hues. I liked the write-up on the back - a young man goes to serve as a companion to an elderly woman near the sea. This sounds different. Although I mildly enjoyed this book, I felt it could have been so, so much more than it was. It turns out to be about a less-than-mature young man falling in and out of love an Judging books by their covers is, indeed, a reckless activity. I kept being drawn to the cover of this book, with its simple, asymmetrical arrangement of shiny wooden oars of different hues. I liked the write-up on the back - a young man goes to serve as a companion to an elderly woman near the sea. This sounds different. Although I mildly enjoyed this book, I felt it could have been so, so much more than it was. It turns out to be about a less-than-mature young man falling in and out of love and learning a few lessons about life. Ho hum. What would have made this book much more interesting - and more unusual - would have been the development of a real relationship between the elderly employer and the young man. But the 70-year-old woman's character remains as shallowly developed as their relationship. What a shame. Still, the setting of a small coastal NE town where money and class rule is nicely evoked for those of us who are not spending our summers on the beach.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tory

    It's a different perspective on the whole "coming of age" novel. While the narrator/main character isn't necessarily in the age bracket that I would assume a "coming of age" novel should be... he is rather immature and going through the whole self reflecting. He's experimenting with love, experiencing changing roles within his family and discovering his own personal limits. There wasn't a tangible story arc, very little conclusion... but all the same. I liked it. I liked him. I liked the post-pu It's a different perspective on the whole "coming of age" novel. While the narrator/main character isn't necessarily in the age bracket that I would assume a "coming of age" novel should be... he is rather immature and going through the whole self reflecting. He's experimenting with love, experiencing changing roles within his family and discovering his own personal limits. There wasn't a tangible story arc, very little conclusion... but all the same. I liked it. I liked him. I liked the post-punk alcoholic pastor and even the little old lady who'd gone through life without forming real bonds of friendship, instead always looking for a prospective lover. The narration showed really well the self-involved arrogance of youth. There was little character exploration, little attention to plot. But I didn't think the novel necessarily suffered for it. It just made the point of what the novel was, all the more clear.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lucas Grandkoski

    Overall this was a good book. I initially got it from the library because I inadvertently thought it was Elin Hilderbrands "Summer People." However the synopsis sounded good so I read it. Interestingly enough, one of the main reasons I love Elin Hilderbrands books is the setting - they all take place on Nantucket. This book by Brian Groh takes place in coastal Maine, so I was attracted to that. The actual story of the book is only so-so. I wanted to like it, but it didn't really seem to go anywh Overall this was a good book. I initially got it from the library because I inadvertently thought it was Elin Hilderbrands "Summer People." However the synopsis sounded good so I read it. Interestingly enough, one of the main reasons I love Elin Hilderbrands books is the setting - they all take place on Nantucket. This book by Brian Groh takes place in coastal Maine, so I was attracted to that. The actual story of the book is only so-so. I wanted to like it, but it didn't really seem to go anywhere. The character development, overall, was lacking. There was no suspense, no surprise, it just kind of ended. I did like the setting, and the descriptions of the setting, the town, the home where the story takes place. I'd read another of Brian's books to see how it goes.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Beverly Harrison

    My Summer theory is this: If it's published and sitting on a shelf at the library, it should be a shining example so someone's story telling skills. It should be readable, no matter what it's about. So I picked any ol' book off the shelf. This one. Ultimately, a boy's story. Protagonist is a 20 something guy with little ambition. He takes a Summer job looking after an octogenarian socialite in a wealthy Summer beach area of Maine . Ultimately, he does learn some stuff, but who cares? It's like wa My Summer theory is this: If it's published and sitting on a shelf at the library, it should be a shining example so someone's story telling skills. It should be readable, no matter what it's about. So I picked any ol' book off the shelf. This one. Ultimately, a boy's story. Protagonist is a 20 something guy with little ambition. He takes a Summer job looking after an octogenarian socialite in a wealthy Summer beach area of Maine . Ultimately, he does learn some stuff, but who cares? It's like watching a pot of water come to a boil. It's a neutral look at class separation and the worst of human behavior. On the good side, the lyrical quality of the Author's writing kept me going.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I liked the book in the beginning but then it turned into a whiney mess. I could'nt stand Nathan,the main character. His annoyingly whimpy, drama queen characteristics drove me nuts. Plus, the plot line was unrealistic and ridiculous. I would give it one star if it wasn't for the fact that I enjoyed the first 50-75 pages. Do not waste your time with this book. I can't wait to return it to the library. I liked the book in the beginning but then it turned into a whiney mess. I could'nt stand Nathan,the main character. His annoyingly whimpy, drama queen characteristics drove me nuts. Plus, the plot line was unrealistic and ridiculous. I would give it one star if it wasn't for the fact that I enjoyed the first 50-75 pages. Do not waste your time with this book. I can't wait to return it to the library.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Xzs

    I purchased this as a bargain book from Barnes and Noble. Many of the reviews said not to waste your time. But frankly, I liked the cover (I know, I know...)....so I bought the book in spite of the reviews, and I'm glad I did. It wasn't the best book in the world, but it was just what I was looking for to start the summer: a light, easy read. I didn't particularly like any of the characters, but I enjoyed the story nonetheless! I purchased this as a bargain book from Barnes and Noble. Many of the reviews said not to waste your time. But frankly, I liked the cover (I know, I know...)....so I bought the book in spite of the reviews, and I'm glad I did. It wasn't the best book in the world, but it was just what I was looking for to start the summer: a light, easy read. I didn't particularly like any of the characters, but I enjoyed the story nonetheless!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    Summer People is a testament to the power of cover art. The book can only be described as incredibly awkward, filled with annoying characters and undeveloped story lines. I am sure many men have thoughts of self doubt similar to Nathan, the main character, but this makes me glad that most of the men in my life aren't very expressive (I know that sounds terrible but he's just so self-pitying). I can only hope the rest of my summer reads are better than Summer People. Summer People is a testament to the power of cover art. The book can only be described as incredibly awkward, filled with annoying characters and undeveloped story lines. I am sure many men have thoughts of self doubt similar to Nathan, the main character, but this makes me glad that most of the men in my life aren't very expressive (I know that sounds terrible but he's just so self-pitying). I can only hope the rest of my summer reads are better than Summer People.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Heidi Weinmann

    This was a fairly quick read and it had several layers of meaning in it, but I was never really able to connect with any of the characters. It was not my favorite book, but I didn't feel as though it was a complete waste of time either. This was a fairly quick read and it had several layers of meaning in it, but I was never really able to connect with any of the characters. It was not my favorite book, but I didn't feel as though it was a complete waste of time either.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Hanneken

    Absolutely pointless. Wish I could get back all of the time I wasted reading this and waiting for something to happen.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Adair

    Hoping it would get better, i forced myself to finish this book. It didn't! Hoping it would get better, i forced myself to finish this book. It didn't!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Carla Catalano

    Summer People by Brian Groh was a book I found at the AAUW book sale in June. The description sounded like the perfect book to ease into summer reading. The story revolves around 22 year-old Nathan Empson who agrees to care for an elderly woman in a wealthy coastal town. It is during this time that Nathan confronts his own life desires, fears, anxieties, and inspirations. It is a book that appears simple on the surface, but in reality runs deeper revealing much more to whoever is reading it. Nat Summer People by Brian Groh was a book I found at the AAUW book sale in June. The description sounded like the perfect book to ease into summer reading. The story revolves around 22 year-old Nathan Empson who agrees to care for an elderly woman in a wealthy coastal town. It is during this time that Nathan confronts his own life desires, fears, anxieties, and inspirations. It is a book that appears simple on the surface, but in reality runs deeper revealing much more to whoever is reading it. Nathan’s character is a bit despicable, but his behavior cannot be used as a basis for judging the book - the writing is quite fine and the characters are well-drawn as are their interactions. The other character that is complex is Eldwin, the sometimes Pastor. He doesn’t completely fit the mold of the charismatic pastor, but he says and does things that are pure gold. For example, he tries to explain how and where he gets his faith from to Nathan who is lost and doesn’t know if or what to believe in. These lines are some of my favorite in the book,. “Well, I can’t explain human suffering, why it happens, but the way I usually answer this question is to ask you to imagine a circle. In the circle, it represents ALL there is to know about the universe. And keep in mind that the Hubble telescope has detected something like 50 million galaxies and is discovering more so we don’t have evidence that the universe ends. It may be infinite. But, let’s say that the circle represents all there is to know about the universe and how it works. Everything: cosmology, history, physics, biology, and everything else to be learned. ...Now, put your finger in the circle to represent what you already know.” “ I know so little about the universe, I can’t make any reasonable assertion about the order of things or whether that order negates or confirms God. I can only have faith either in the absence or presence of God, and I choose to believe in God’s presence” (220-221). “Well, I believe because some of those strange things or patterns I told you about have happened to me in my life” (221).

  29. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    I enjoyed reading this book. It hasn't gotten much love on Goodreads, but from some of the reviews I've read, it seems people haven't liked reading about a young man's inner thoughts, ideas and questions. I find that interesting, as a recent book I just finished (The Way Life Should Be), has a very similar feel, only it's a young woman's perspective. GR readers aren't biased I hope??? At any rate, this story is told from twenty-something Nathan's perspective. He has agreed to take the elderly Ell I enjoyed reading this book. It hasn't gotten much love on Goodreads, but from some of the reviews I've read, it seems people haven't liked reading about a young man's inner thoughts, ideas and questions. I find that interesting, as a recent book I just finished (The Way Life Should Be), has a very similar feel, only it's a young woman's perspective. GR readers aren't biased I hope??? At any rate, this story is told from twenty-something Nathan's perspective. He has agreed to take the elderly Ellen Broderick back to her coastal home for the summer and be her driver and whatnot during the summer at the upper crust Maine community she has been a fixture at for decades. What Nathan was not told by Ellen's family is that a) the previous summer she was in a car accident and b) she is becoming more and more senile. Furthermore, no one bothered to tell him of the various relationships, drama, and situations that keep such a community tied together over the generations, but also create minefields for the unknowing. In addition to all of this, Nathan himself is learning to come to terms with his own relationships, drama, and situations. The overlap of all these: Ellen's, the community's, and Nathan's goings-on make for an interesting contrast as the novel moves along. Anyone who has experienced an elderly family member, a small town, and/or grappling with one's own difficult circumstances, will find this novel appealing.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    I actually liked this coming of age novel despite its shortcomings! Nathan Empson (college dropout and underemployed) through some personal nepotism is hired as a caregiver to a wealthy, elderly woman named Ellen who’s not quite all there but wants to spend the summer at her ocean front home in a Maine resort town but requires personal supervision. Many have described (our hero) Nathan as a whiney wimp, but truthfully Nathan is a pretty ordinary kind of guy who is not unintelligent but is just i I actually liked this coming of age novel despite its shortcomings! Nathan Empson (college dropout and underemployed) through some personal nepotism is hired as a caregiver to a wealthy, elderly woman named Ellen who’s not quite all there but wants to spend the summer at her ocean front home in a Maine resort town but requires personal supervision. Many have described (our hero) Nathan as a whiney wimp, but truthfully Nathan is a pretty ordinary kind of guy who is not unintelligent but is just immature, and prone to soothe himself with a few too many rum and cokes. The appeal of “Summer People” is that Nathan does manage to literally survive the summer despite all of his poor choices and just plain bad luck. There’s no grand heroics, much of what Ellen and Nathan do is banal, Nathan doesn’t find the romance that he desperately seeks, the characters on the fringes aren’t particularly compelling. But there was a sure footed reality here and some pretty comic writing. Nathan has hope.

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