Title: Summer Blonde
Author: Adrian Tomine
Pub Date: June 2003
My Rating: ★★★☆☆
I am glad that I didn’t review this book immediately after finishing it, as I usually do. I had time to think and process this book and stories presented within its pages. Summer Blonde is a collection of four short stories presented as comics. The stories are very subtle and follow certain kind of people – people that are sad, depressed, people that struggle with finding sense in life. Reading the stories gives you a voyeuristic feel. You feel like the shadow on the cover that is following someone. You are looking at someone else’s life at their most vulnerable, and you either want to help them and find closure for them, or you want to turn your head. But you cannot do either. You get to see parts of their lives, and then the story is abruptly finished. You don’t know what happens next. At first, it was very frustrating for me, but later, thinking about the stories I get this, I am willing to forgive the author for not giving the stories an ending, because I see why he did that.
The title story Summer Blonde follows he a socially challenged man, who is in love with a girl – he only knows her from a story where she works, and he often comes to buy cards he doesn’t need and never sends to anyone. Then he must witness as this girl is getting involved with his neighbour – man that is a complete opposite of him. This story was hard to read because I was looking for someone to like, for this one likeable character I could root for. I got no one.
My favourite story was Hawaiian Getaway with a main female character – Hilary. She is having a horrible time; she just got fired, her grandmother died, her mother is using every chance she has to make Hilary feel guilty and miserable, and her roommate is leaving, one of the reasons being Hilary’s vibe of sadness. She is desperate and during long hours of days, she is not spending at work she starts to call telephone booth that she can see from her window and talks with strangers willing to pick up the receiver. It is a strange story. I felt sad for Hilary, and it was hard to see how she was diving deeper into her despair.
All the stories are not easy to read, and you may need some time to let those stories settle. I needed some time to process them and truly appreciate them.
The post was spell checked using Grammarly. Thanks to it I avoided publishing a post with 33 critical issues, and 12 advanced grammar issues.