Book Review: Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner

Book Review: Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner


Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

We all have our insecurities, reasons we sell ourselves short and chicken out on following our dreams. Reasons we don’t think we deserve those dreams. And we’re all wrong. We all, every single one of us, deserve those dreams. And we need to respect ourselves enough to get out of our own way and to at least try. The worst that can happen is that we fail, right? And how is that worse than never trying at all?

Big Summer is a breezy, very current murder mystery. The perspective character, Daphne, is a plus-sized Instagram influencer who is about to be part of the biggest wedding to ever hit social media. But when someone winds up dead, Daphne finds herself trying to track down the murderer instead.

“Everyone tries to put the best versions of themselves across. To fake it. And when they’re not doing that, they’re sitting behind their screens, passing judgment and feeling superior to whoever they think’s being sexist or racist that day.”

I found Daphne incredibly relatable. She’s a woman who is trying to accept herself for who she is, in spite of a desperate desire to be thinner. While I’m not at all into social media, I appreciated that Daphne’s character wanted to use her posts and status as an influencer to help other women feel beautiful, no matter their size.

“I was going to eat to nourish myself, I was going to exercise to feel strong and healthy, I was going to let go of the idea of ever being thin, once and for all, and live my life in the body that I had.”

Like so many women, I’ve been plagued by self-image issues, especially since having a hysterectomy and putting on weight that no amount of exercise or healthy eating seem able to melt away. I have lived my adult life in a perpetual state of “when/then.” When I finally lose some weight, then I’ll record some music and make YouTube videos so I can get my voice out there. When I’m thinner, then I’ll finally try out for a play with the local theater troupe. When I’m not so big, then I won’t inwardly cringe every time someone pulls out a camera. Later this week, my co-bloggers and I are going to be video chatting for the first time ever and, while I’m thrilled by the fact that I’ll finally get to see their lovely faces while we chat, I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a part of me that is panicked, afraid that they’ll think less of me when my face appears on their screens. (I absolutely know that they would never judge me like this. Most fears are irrational, right?)

All of that being said, I’m learning to accept myself for who I am instead of punishing myself for not being perfect. I know my worth. I’m funny and open and kind and smart. I’ve got a killer voice and a way with words. And dang it, I’m pretty, too. I’ll never be perfect, but neither will anyone else, no matter how airbrushed they appear on social media. I have every right to be comfortable in my body, even if that body doesn’t meet societal norms for beauty.

End rant.

Big Summer is not the type of book I would generally pick up. Honestly, I placed a library hold on a whim and, when the audiobook became available the same day I had to take a long drive, I decided to give it a go. While I rolled my eyes in a lot of places, I didn’t hate the characters, the idea of a wedding with such a heavy social media presence was intriguing, and I didn’t guess the murderer. It ended up being a pretty entertaining read. If you’re looking for something breezy with enough edge to keep things interesting, give Big Summer a chance.

You can order this book from: Bookshop.org (Support independent bookstores!) | Amazon UK | Amazon US | Audible | Libro.fm (Another way to support independent bookstores!) | Book Depository (Free shipping)

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