Summer love, precious, all-encompassing and often, come the end of summer, devastating. That’s what a happened one summer family holiday at the beach over the long, warm, endless days of a perfect summer, when Kit Godden and his brother Hugo came to holiday at the beach.
Kit was charismatic, charming and ruthless, Hugo gruff, detached and surly at times, the air and ages of the family ripe for summer love. Told by the narrator who has time on her hands to sit, watch and sketch her family as they enjoy their lazy summer days at their summer house, she tells, almost in a detached manner, of the summer that was to change the family irrevocably as she too fell in love with Kit; she just knew the moment she saw him she was in love.
Mattie also fell helplessly in love, as did Hope, as charismatic Kit sets out to charm, cajole and take all he desires, and considers fitting for the ‘golden boy,’ carving a destructive pathway wherever he goes.
Rosoff captures beautifully the family of four children as they welcome into their lives a summer visitor, who as the weeks slide by is set to wreak havoc in the family, destroying everything they hold dear, as he simply takes what he wants from life and moves on, leaving devastation behind.
Timeless and well told, it is reminiscent of a ‘summer’ everyone has known as they pass through life, learning along the way that all is not necessarily as it seems, people are not always what they portray and life, regardless of emotion, trundles ever onward.
Although written as a novella, The Great Gooden is captivating while being read, but perhaps all to easily forgotten once the last page is turned, but in so saying, the story also offers a word of caution when falling in ‘summer love’ with a someone who appears all to good to be true; a coming of age with a depth of emotion that is only apparent upon reflection.
|Publisher||Bloomsbury Publishing/Bloomsbury YA|