Tomato Reviewers August Book Picks

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Our Tomato book reviewers have three books you’ll want to dig into. Same Time Next Summer is a novel of first love and self-discovery; Lucky Girl, a debut novel, a young woman navigates race, love, and family, to gradual forges her own identity; and Gray Love is an anthology of dating after 60, its rewards, it challenges, its joys!

A Perfect Summer of Anytime Read

When I began reading Same Time Next Summer, I did not know anything about the story line.  I don’t like to read the back of a book I want to be surprised as I am reading it.   I did read Annabel Monaghan’s last book, Nora Goes Off Script and absolutely loved it.  I was curious to know if this book could be as good as her last one and let me say it exceeded my expectations.

Sam has her life all planned out. She has a great job in Manhattan, until recently when she has been faced with the possibility of being fired.  Sam has the perfect doctor fiancé, Jack with his strict routines.  They are planning their wedding and are looking forward to their future together.

Sam takes Jack to Long Island Beach, where her family has a beach house.  They are there to look at wedding venues for their upcoming wedding.  This is the beach Sam grew up going to every year for the entire summer.

Once she arrives at her parents  beach house, Sam is flooded with childhood memories of her first love Wyatt.  As children, the two saw each other every summer at the shore.  Their parents had homes next door to each other.  They would also stay in touch during the school year, through daily text messages. When Wyatt is 18, and Sam is 17, they are both heartbroken after a shocking incident happens between their two families and they never saw each other again.  Now, Sam finds out that Wyatt is next door visiting his mother.

This book is a journey of self-discovery for Sam, a way for her to find her true authentic self. She must confront those feelings she has for Wyatt and see if she still is in love with him.  The author did an excellent job of flashbacks when Sam and Wyatt were teenagers and in the present day.

Annabel Monaghan also did a really great job in describing the first love in the story line.  Your heart broke for these two teenagers. This is a must summer read or anytime read.  I loved this book and I highly recommend.  It was a five star book for me.  GET THE BOOK.

~Francene Katzen, Richmond, Virginia, advocate for parents who have children with drug addictions.

A Moving and Thought-Provoking Debut Novel

Lucky Girl by Irene Muchemi-Ndiritu, centers around Soila, a Kenyan girl, and her journey to self-discovery. As Soila develops into a young woman, navigating issues of race, love, and family, she gradually forges her own identity, separate from that of her domineering Catholic mother.

Soila is raised in a matriarchal household in Nairobi, surrounded by her mother, four aunts, and grandmother and provided for by her mother’s successful business enterprises. Although she is doted upon and privileged to attend the best schools, the price to pay is the controlling hand of her mother.

A life-changing event occurs when Soila is abused by a trusted family friend. Strong-willed though damaged, she manages to thwart her mother and separate from her family to go to college in the U.S. Here she finds friendship, love, and a fascinating landscape for her growing interest in photography, as well as a whole new perspective on race.

As she immerses herself in a new life, Soila privately struggles to find what is meaningful to her while her mother continues to assert control. Although her passion is photography, she follows her mother’s expectation that she will go into finance. To escape the constant surveillance, she begins to hold certain things sacred from her mother’s prying overseas eyes, especially when she loses her virginity to her first boyfriend.

Defining cultural differences of family traditions, the author shares the strong pull of the African family. Unable to reconcile it, the chafing with her mother persists throughout Soila’s journey. Despite this insufferable relationship, the book ends on a hopeful note, showing that one can honor one’s family while discovering oneself. GET THE BOOK.

~Joan Pagano, NYC, Joan Pagano Fitness

A Beautiful Read of Dating After 60

According to a study by Pew Research Center, the divorce rate for adults aged 50 and older has doubled since 1990, and for those 65 and older, it has tripled.  Among the group of single Americans, about 25% live alone and spend most of their day alone, with roughly half of the women over 65 without partners.

Thus, the interest by two editors, Nan Maglin and Daniel E. Hood, both previously published authors, to put together an anthology of narrative stories of those seeking romance and companionship, in the third or fourth quarters of life.  In GRAY LOVE, forty-five men and women between ages 59 and 94 from diverse backgrounds talk about dating, starting or ending a relationship, embracing life alone or enjoying a partnered one.  Of the contributors, one is going on 60, eleven are in their 60’s, twenty in their 70’s, another 11 in their 80’s, and two in their 90’s.

The longing for connection as maturity approaches is palpable here with a nod to the fact that older adults have different preferences and expectations when it comes to dating than younger generations.  They tend to value compatibility, companionship, friendship, respect, honesty and intimacy more than physical attractiveness, status or wealth. In this book, those who find new partners explore issues that most relationships encounter at any age, as well as those that are particular and unique to mature relationships.

Those issues include having had previous partners and complicated and deep personal histories; the reactions of family and friends to an older person’s dating; alternative models of marriage (such as sharing space of living apart); having more than one partners at the same time; issues of body image, appearance and sexuality; and, lastly, the pressure of time and the specter of illness and/or death.

In essence, the story line could be described as “To Be or Not To Be” in a relationship with tales of humor, disappointment, rewards and insights.   Part 1 deals with the subject of dating, which some view as a learning experience, while for others it is exhausting. humorous, and often disappointing.  As one subject commented, the experience added new texture to her life but for many, it is all those things combined or serialized.

Part 2 deals with the dating process from start to finish, including those who have found someone at the end of the road.  All in all, those interviewed are fresh voices that give dignity, pathos, humor and warmth to the search…and the hope that love and passion can exist beyond the reproductive years.   And the book unfolds the yearning (and resignation) among older adults with delicacy and sophistication.

A beautiful read of dating after 60, its rewards, it challenges, its joys! GET THE BOOK

~Anne Akers, NYC, Health, Beauty, Wellness editor for The Three Tomatoes


The Three Tomatoes Book Shelf
If you love books you've come to the right place. Here's where you'll find great books that our Tomato reviewers have read and think other tomatoes will love too. Enjoy.

Book Review

The Three Tomatoes Book Shelf If you love books you've come to the right place. Here's where you'll find great books that our Tomato reviewers have read and think other tomatoes will love too. Enjoy.

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