Last Summer is the story of four nice, polite and attractive kids from educated homes that meets unexpectedly in an island to spend their summer vacation. Bored while counting the days until summer’s over and can finally go back to their home town, these youths find themselves teaming up for something to do to make their vacation meaningful which in turn will lead to a violent nightmare.
The novel consists of two parts which contains the main factor in each arc, one is the Gull and the other one is Rhoda. Two boys, David and Peter together with their new found friend Sandy tries to rescue a dying seagull which the latter found near the sea. They tried to heal its wounds and eagerly train it to fly again which results to something delusional and for me, a little bit confusing though not in a farfetched kind of way. Then enters Rhoda, a meek, shy and plump girl who joins the gang, as if in instant they try to rescue her for something, teach her how to swim and the likes a girl like her isn’t used too. Well, that also leads to a shocking result. They are kids who had everything but they wanted more. Their boredom makes them drawn altogether by the same needs, the same desperation no matter what are the consequences.
The book made me angry at some parts and makes me want to be the proxy in behalf of Rhoda’s cowardice to perform the punishment for those three. Their way too-cool manner and not to show some kind of resentment and guilt makes me want to tear them apart. Not to mention they started off as if it doesn’t happen. Although the novel still infuriates me, I have to say that it is a well-written thriller and at the same time a tragic coming of age story. I just have my sentiments about Sandy and David, whom I guess doesn’t have any good reasons for their actions for such they belong to a middle-class family. Was youth’s back then just act like that? Anyway, I hope I find the answer to its sequel. Try to read this one; I guess it is compelling and hard to forget. The hardships and ambiguities of being a teenager is carefully wrought and observe here. The author is well-known for his police procedural crime series 87th Precinct written with his most famous pseudonym, Ed McBain.
Last Summer is adapted to screen with the same title in 1969.
Opening Sentence: We spent last summer, when I was just sixteen, on an island mistakenly named Greensward, its shores only thinly vegetated with beach grass and plum, its single forest destroyed by fire more than twenty years before.
Ending Sentence: It almost seemed as if winter had already come.