Quaker Summer by Lisa Samson

I liked this book, sort of. I had a hard time with the main character’s compulsive spending at first, because it’s not something I can really relate to. But I did appreciate how, over the course of the book, she made an effort to change that, to be a more generous person, to give of her time and money to those in need rather than surrounding herself with stuff.

The problem was that one of the things that helped her do that was that a kangaroo jumped in front of her car and caused an accident. I still don’t quite understand whether that was actually supposed to have happened or whether we were supposed to think she was hallucinating. I mean . . . a kangaroo. In America. What the heck, right? Maybe I missed the part where it was supposed to have escaped from the zoo? Or maybe it was just symbolic of something?

I also felt like the husband wasn’t a fully realized character – the main character, Heather, spent most of her time wondering why her husband, Jace, loved her. And for the life of me, I couldn’t tell you, either.

The first part of the book was kind of difficult to get through, because Heather seemed all over the place, and I couldn’t sympathize. Later in the book, when she was breaking herself of her spending habits and making an effort to deal with some of her guilt, I thought that things came together better. By the end, I was wishing we’d spent more time with the back half of the story and had a little less on the front half.

I can see why the Women of Faith would choose this as their novel of the year, because I think that a lot of women in this country feel as Heather did – trapped by their “stuff,” wanting to give back but not sure how to make the steps to do so. At the same time, I can’t recommend the book. Mostly because of the kangaroo.

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