Seeking Sara Summers, by Susan Gabriel

susanSara’s life as a middle-aged mom, wife, and teacher is thrown into upheaval when she gets breast cancer. Over the last year, she’s fought the illness, continually apologized to her husband for being sick, and downplayed the seriousness of the situation to her adult children. When she suddenly receives an invitation to Italy from a friend named Julia that she hasn’t spoken to for 30 years, Sara decides to break out of the rut of her life and go. She expects to feel free in Italy, but she doesn’t expect to suddenly fall in love with Julia.

I’ve been looking forward to this book forever. I can’t even remember where I first heard about it, but it’s been on my list for over a year. I got it back in December through a special deal, signed by the author. I liked it immediately when I started, hearing this 40-something woman wonder about her life and whether or not she was really living. It’s a subject I’ve been thinking and reading a lot about lately. It was well-written and Sara’s quiet desperation seeps through to the reader.

Unfortunately, that’s where the good ended for me. The rest of the book turned out to be a big disappointment, which makes me really sad. It’s not that the rest was badly done. It’s more like from the moment Sara has her first stirring twinge of feeling for Julia, I felt like I was in a different book altogether. That twinge came literally out of nowhere. The two girls have been hanging out for a few days after not seeing each other for 30 years. They were best friends as kids and they hit it off immediately when Sara came to Italy. I didn’t expect it to take weeks for a romantic interest to spark up, but I did expect some sort of foreshadowing. Instead it was just – the girls went on a walk, they talked about the scenery, and suddenly Sara’s hit with a desire she hasn’t felt since she first got married. It was abrupt and awkward.

I love the concept of this book. I love the idea that two women who have never had a relationship with other women before can fall in love with each other because of their bond. I love that. I loved the relationship that formed between Julia and Sara. But I didn’t buy HOW it formed, not in the beginning, anyway. From that change onwards, the writing became more awkward, jumping weeks or even months very quickly, leaving out key details, almost as if it was more of a sketch of a story rather than the full story.

I hate to say all this. I really wanted to love this book and I think the message it sends is so important. I love the acceptance and the struggle with one’s past. I love the idea that true love transcends gender. I just…wish it had been executed differently, or that the transition Sara makes had felt more natural and realistic. Maybe I just set my hopes too high. I don’t know. Sadly, it just didn’t work for me.

About Amanda

Writing. Family. Books. Crochet. Fitness. Fashion. Fun. Not necessarily in that order. Note: agender (she/her).
This entry was posted in 2010, Adult, Prose and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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