Publisher and Publication Date: Apprentice House Press. May 1, 2021.
Format: NetGalley e-book.
Source: I received a complimentary e-book copy from NetGalley and Mind Buck Media. I am not required to write a positive review.
Audience: Readers of coming of age and family stories.
For more information about the book: Apprentice House Press-Remnants of Summer.
Author Goodreads Page without a bio, but it does list her books.
Iris Merchant is a young teenage girl (14) in the summer of 1973. She has an older sister named Liz. She has a younger brother named Scott. Scott is 11. Iris and Scott are at Michigan beach enjoying a sunny day. When Iris wakes up from a brief nap while sunbathing she realizes Scott is not nearby. She assumes he went swimming and everything will be okay. She leaves the lake and walks home alone. Everything is not okay. Later, the family will find out Scott drowned in the lake. Iris blames herself; and, Liz blames Iris. The rest of the summer passes in a blur. The school year moves along at a slow pace. Another summer approaches with the realization a year has gone by without Scott.
The Remnants of Summer is part coming of age story and part family grief.
In 1973 I was 9. I actually have grown to love stories that have a time period of the 1960s and 1970s.
The Remnants of Summer is not a story that I am transported back in time because of the clothes or music references. There is mention of Watergate and President Nixon’s resignation.
The story is told from the narrator who is Iris. Iris is a young person who is not rebellious. She doesn’t act out after the death of her brother which is rare. Often there is an acting out after a traumatic crisis. On the other hand, she appears to me to be numb. This transcribes to paper. A numb feeling throughout the story.
Grief is the number one theme in The Remnants of Summer but grief is not processed. There is no mention of counseling. There is not a church family or neighbors who reach out to the family. There is no outside help for any of them. I don’t think counseling would have been considered for this era-not like today. Books and literature about grieving was about non-existent. However, there were counselors at school. And, there were pastors who counseled with families. Pastors and priests can at least pray and listen to the grieving family. None of these options are presented in the story. For me, this is sadly lacking. There is no resolve in the story. This theme hangs there and only grows larger.
The Remnants of Summer is slow. A slow and sad year in the life of the family-with the focus on Iris. While the grief is fresh, she is going through adolescence, peer pressure, abuse, school, a changing body, drama with friends, an older sister who is at enmity, parents who are going through their own problems, and an additional element in the story that impacts the community. This last example is not used as a big part of the story but more as a backdrop.
Over-all the story feels lacking.
Lastly, I feel this story is better suited for young adults.
Themes in the story: death, grieving, courage, innocence, fear, and guilt.