I first read this from the library. Then I went out and bought a copy of my own. This is a wonderful book. And a great one for summer reading. This American summer home is very upper class and my roots are very middle class, and yet it brought back all kinds of memories of our summers spent in a small rented cottage. The themes of family and growing up and attachment to place are universal. It is a book I want to read again and again. It is touching and real and well-written.
The gentleman has a way with words! The long, interesting story of a family history and the house it was lived in. This is NOT a story about what might have happened in a house - this IS the story of the house and it's obvious that the author is deeply in love with the house and his family history. Presented beautifully.
This is a wonderfully written book. Colt wanders through several generations talking about his family's experiences at their Cape Cod summer home. It is a book that can be picked up and put down without concern for losing the plot. Each chapter stands alone and is interesting on its own.
Do yourself a favor and give this book a chance to work its magic on you. When I first started this book I surmised that someone was attempting to turn a thesis on old Cape Cod residential architecture into a novel to earn some money. Once into the book I wanted to apologize for those thoughts.
The author was actually describing this wonderful home in loving detail so that when
he takes you inside, you will understand and be ready to share, in some small way the living, loving nostalgia that is so rich you can feel it, smell it, and delight in
those magnifcent summers.
The author captures so much of his glorious childhood summers I want to rent a place on Wing's Neck for the summer! And, I must admit I've surfed the internet looking for rentals and dreaming of such a time and place this book gave me.
Thank you George Howe Colt for sharing your story. How many times have we all said,
"If only these walls could talk." You are indeed a great voice for the walls of The Big House.
At first, I found this book somewhat slow. But less than midway through I was facinated with the characters, the house, and the amazingly long family history. By the end of the book, I found myself missing the old family houses of my childhood.
George Colts family owned an 11 bedroom summer house they built in 1902 on Necks Wing on Cape Cod. The author shares his summer memories, stories of grandparents, all the way to great-great-great grandparents. It is an emotional rollercoaster trying to keep large summer home estates in the family once the family grows to a certain size and it is passed down so many generations. Not to mention that life styles have changed so much, where families do not have the luxury of spending an entire summer or even more than a week or weekend on family escapes. So to mantain a mansion year round (espeically one that is a century old) can be quite and expense and burden on today's families. The book not only covers memories & history but also struggles and heartbreaks. Really touching.
I've read this book more than once. The old Boston family is very close, and remains close to its roots. Their lives are lived around (and for?) the seriously age-compromised family summer home on Cape Cod. Parts of the story are very sad, but it's a sensitive exploration of one multi-generational family's growing up, having their own problems, overcoming them, learning to know each other better, and finally cooperating to save the pillar of their lives. Sweet.
tani reviewed The Big House : A Century in the Life of an American Summer Home on
Helpful Score: 1
A wonderful, wonderful book, with a heartwarming but poignant ending. If you need something to make you feel good, something you can read for relaxation, this is it. Of course, it helps that I was brought up in Massachusetts and the house in question is down on the Cape (Cape Cod)!
I could not get into this book, it moved very slowly and just did not keep my interest. I know it's an award winner and the words are pretty, but the level of detail was a big snore for me. I could not finish the book.
I just couldnt get into this book I gave it to page 60.I will say I did like the parts were he talked about when he was little and use to spend his days on cape cod. Reminded me of the days at the Jersey shore.I hated the parts when he went off on the history of the island and his family history that part just bored me.I found the book was slow reading.Also it was very descriptive so if your into that you may like it.For me I dont like alot of discription in a book.
This was an interesting story of five generations and how they lived in and enjoyed an enormous and wonderful summer home on Cape Cod. The book is filled with local history from Native American days to present. Feelings of the generations of cousins, aunts and uncles. Weddings and parties and how in the end, the eleven bedroom gabled wonder of a house was no longer affordable and must be sold. The author tells of his forty third and last summer there with his small family.
Faced with the sale of the century-olf amily summer house on Cape Cod he had spent fourty-two summers, George Howe Colt returned for one last stay with his wife and children. This poignant tribute to the eleven-bedroom jumble of gables, bays, breakdowns, and love affairs for five generations interweaves Colt's final visit with memories of a lifetime of summers.