Book Reviews of Someone Like Summer

Someone Like Summer
Someone Like Summer
Author: M. E. Kerr
ISBN-13: 9780061140990
ISBN-10: 0061140996
Publication Date: 7/1/2007
Pages: 272
Reading Level: Young Adult
Rating:
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 1

5 stars, based on 1 rating
Publisher: HarperTeen
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

2 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Someone Like Summer on + 7145 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Reviewed by Mechele R. Dillard for TeensReadToo.com

In an age when questions of illegal immigration and exploitation of workers increasingly threaten to divide American society, M. E. Kerr presents a story of young interracial love that could be found anywhere in the country, not just in the resort town of Seaview, NY. All of the characters are here: the overt racist, protected by a successful position in the community; the young intellectual trapped between what he knows and who he loves; the businessman using illegal immigrants to his advantage, while convincing himself that he is doing them a favor; the immigrants themselves, some legal, some not, trying to build a life within a new culture, but also trying to retain their own heritage; and the young lovers, one hoping to improve himself, but constrained by the fact that he is in the U.S. illegally, and one too naïve to understand that love simply cannot conquer all. Yes, they are all here--and Kerr doesn't shy away from the ups or the downs.

Kerr specifically showcases the complexities of prejudice in the character of Annabel's father, Kenneth Brown. Although he constantly belittles the Hispanic population, referring to people as "muchachos" and refusing to learn the names of his workers, simply referring to everyone as "Pedro" or "Jose," he seems to truly believe he is open-minded and forward thinking, simply because he is willing to hire Hispanic workers. The fact that he pays them less than half what he would pay an American worker doesn't register as racist whatsoever: "It's a darn good deal for them .... Most of them don't speak English, and some don't even have papers. I don't ask questions. I give them steady work. They learn on the job some of them, and they can earn as high as three hundred a week" (p. 12). Annabel, meanwhile, even though she is in love with a man from Colombia, remains in denial about her father's racism, defending him directly to Esteban: "My father sometimes uses that language ... but he doesn't mean to offend anyone. He's just from the old school. They don't know how offensive it is" (p. 165).

Kenneth Brown knows better; Annabel Brown knows better; we all know better. And, as Kerr points out, we are all capable of racism and denial, regardless of our race. Esteban frequently makes excuses for his sister, who hates Annabel and calls her names solely because Annabel is ehite: "Stop throwing yourself at my brother, Flour Face" (p. 7). When it comes to prejudice and hatred, it seems, unfortunately, that there is enough to go around for everyone.

In addition to putting a spotlight on the many problems we must face regarding immigration, Kerr does an excellent job of introducing the names of many giants of literature--Hemingway, e.e. cummings, Poe--and other artistic greats into the storyline. Kerr drops tidbits of information into the dialogue, providing just enough trivia to whet one's interest in these various artists, thus encouraging readers to hit the library and look for details beyond the SOMEONE LIKE SUMMER sound bite.

Ultimately, this is an important work for so many reasons, and one must be somewhat courageous to even pick up the book and read it. Why? Because it's not a matter of if you will see yourself in the pages. Rather, the question is, "In which character will you see yourself?"
reviewed Someone Like Summer on + 7145 more book reviews
Reviewed by Mechele R. Dillard for TeensReadToo.com

In an age when questions of illegal immigration and exploitation of workers increasingly threaten to divide American society, M. E. Kerr presents a story of young interracial love that could be found anywhere in the country, not just in the resort town of Seaview, NY. All of the characters are here: the overt racist, protected by a successful position in the community; the young intellectual trapped between what he knows and who he loves; the businessman using illegal immigrants to his advantage, while convincing himself that he is doing them a favor; the immigrants themselves, some legal, some not, trying to build a life within a new culture, but also trying to retain their own heritage; and the young lovers, one hoping to improve himself, but constrained by the fact that he is in the U.S. illegally, and one too naïve to understand that love simply cannot conquer all. Yes, they are all here--and Kerr doesn't shy away from the ups or the downs.

Kerr specifically showcases the complexities of prejudice in the character of Annabel's father, Kenneth Brown. Although he constantly belittles the Hispanic population, referring to people as "muchachos" and refusing to learn the names of his workers, simply referring to everyone as "Pedro" or "Jose," he seems to truly believe he is open-minded and forward thinking, simply because he is willing to hire Hispanic workers. The fact that he pays them less than half what he would pay an American worker doesn't register as racist whatsoever: "It's a darn good deal for them .... Most of them don't speak English, and some don't even have papers. I don't ask questions. I give them steady work. They learn on the job some of them, and they can earn as high as three hundred a week" (p. 12). Annabel, meanwhile, even though she is in love with a man from Colombia, remains in denial about her father's racism, defending him directly to Esteban: "My father sometimes uses that language ... but he doesn't mean to offend anyone. He's just from the old school. They don't know how offensive it is" (p. 165).

Kenneth Brown knows better; Annabel Brown knows better; we all know better. And, as Kerr points out, we are all capable of racism and denial, regardless of our race. Esteban frequently makes excuses for his sister, who hates Annabel and calls her names solely because Annabel is ehite: "Stop throwing yourself at my brother, Flour Face" (p. 7). When it comes to prejudice and hatred, it seems, unfortunately, that there is enough to go around for everyone.

In addition to putting a spotlight on the many problems we must face regarding immigration, Kerr does an excellent job of introducing the names of many giants of literature--Hemingway, e.e. cummings, Poe--and other artistic greats into the storyline. Kerr drops tidbits of information into the dialogue, providing just enough trivia to whet one's interest in these various artists, thus encouraging readers to hit the library and look for details beyond the SOMEONE LIKE SUMMER sound bite.

Ultimately, this is an important work for so many reasons, and one must be somewhat courageous to even pick up the book and read it. Why? Because it's not a matter of if you will see yourself in the pages. Rather, the question is, "In which character will you see yourself?"