Rating – 1 star
I picked up Beatriz Williams’ A Hundred Summers with a lot of expectations, owing to all the things I read about it. Maybe I should have not heeded to the word going around after all.
Seriously the first thought that came to me after I had finished the hideousness that is this book was what the hell are people raving about ? It was a task in itself not to be tempted to throw my kindle while I was reading this book. Really I had just one question to those who liked it
The book oscillates between 1931/2 and 1938 told from the POV of Lily Dane the book’ protagonist, as she describes how she met Nick Greenwald in the summer of 1931 and their courtship which happened at the speed of lightning and now in 1938 as she travels to Seaview, Rhode Island with her family for their annual summer vacation, she once again comes face to face with Nick, who is now married to her once best friend Budgie. I love books that narrate things between two different time periods, usually have a mystery which stays under wraps until people discover what went wrong and why. This was a major reason I even read this, and was so disappointed.
About a quarter into this book I knew I was taking major chances even as a part of me realized this was not gonna end well
But I wanted to give it a shot at redemption, thinking may be the mystery will salvage the book but alas none of that happened.
So let me tell you more about the book and the reasons it’s such a huge disappointment.
Lily and Nick first meet when Budgie takes her for a baseball game her boyfriend Graham Pendleton’ team is playing and plain old innocent stupid little Lily is smitten
And not the one to be left behind, Nick is taken with her too already
It’s another thing that both of these characters individually or as a couple can make a bunch of rocks seem more interesting in comparison.
But somehow I guess they discover this early on, probably on setting their eyes on each other the first time itself. And fall in LUW.
They become decidedly serious in a few months span and discuss meeting the parents, only hitch here is Lily is somewhat terrified of her mom’ opinions since Nick is a Jew and it is a big deal, since Jews are looked down upon and frowned at in her social circles. She feels her dad will on the other hand welcome her BF with open arms. Being a war veteran her dad has health issues since he was affected by some sort of exposure which I really can’t remember at the moment and that is when shit hits the fan.
Lily’ mom never meets or even has a chance to meet Nick before he is asked by her dad to get the hell away from his home and his daughter.
Not to be discouraged by the reaction, the couple decided to elope and almost get married too, after spending a night together when their plans go awry and Lily calls off things between them.
Lily thought kicking Nick’ ass would not make him go away, he would come back, but instead he mopes around, decides to go to Paris and run his Dad’ firm’ overseas branch.
While in Paris Nick learns Lily has had a baby and due to his own stupidity and another misunderstanding starts whoring around to forget Lily…
They don’t cross paths until the summer of 1938, when Nick returns happily married to Budgie or so it seems.
Lily acts all cool and is all buddy- buddy with Budgie once again and in the words of a character from the novel is actually a spineless fool who can neither confront her ex-boyfriend or ex-best friend all the while as she feels betrayed, hurt and acts like a total moron.
In fact just to prove a point to herself and being the idiot that she is, she walks right into Budgie’ scheme and gets engaged to Graham – Budgie’ ex, whom she starts dating on BUDGIE’ INSISTENCE !!!!
The main thing on which this novel depends are the two mysteries – why did Nick marry Budgie and is Kiki actually Nick and Lily’ daughter ?
The reason Nick agrees to marry Budgie is so stupid you cannot wrap your head around it, all you can think is he married her for this ?? Did I read that right ? Did I may be misunderstood it ?
For the better part of the novel you think Kiki, Lily’ baby sister is actually her illegitimate daughter, born of the one night stand, but that goes out of the window once you reach a certain point in this book and if you can catch it you know what the big secret is early on in the book and not wait till the end for the disclosure.
My first & foremost grievance with this book is that it has a dumb heroine, honestly – Lily is a doormat, people walk all over her and she lets them. Besides smoking and drinking almost all the time. At one point in the book she says she cannot help herself when people say they need her, she has to help them. Being helpful and being a dolt are two different things Lily.
The couple separated owing to misunderstanding and a failure to communicate, beside the real reason that makes Lily’ dad take up his guns against Nick. He had nothing against Nick being a Jew. I read a lot of stuff about Budgie being a bitch and all, and for the life of me all I could see was a poorly executed character who came across as just an opportunist to me. I know that qualifies to certain people as being a bitch, but reading the book did not make me feel any anger in the remotest sense for the character. Gillian Flynn’ Amy was someone who I could and would certainly call a bitch as the character is amazingly brilliant even in its wickedness and all over the place. Williams’ Budgie doesn’t hold a candle to her IMHO.
The Dialogues…. OMG the Dialogues are just so stupid sometimes. Let me give you examples – they are real gems
Will you believe it that the author, a woman herself, has compared breasts to apricots, not once but twice in the novel. BREASTS & APRICOTS !!! and both these times the dialogues were from Lily.
Her small breasts bobbed atop the surface of the water like new apricots
Budgie spread out invitingly, among the scented pillows with her red lips and sleek depilated body and her breasts like new apricots.
You are like milk and honey, Lily. Do you know that ? You are comfort and joy. You are the antidote to all evil.
^^ reading that line – this was my precise reaction especially the last part – no wait the last part made me laugh so hard I almost fell on my ass
Not to mention that Nick’ repeated “Lilybird” got on my nerves.
By the end of the book I couldn’t give a damn about the big storm , who lived or died or if Nick & Lily got their stupid happily ever after, seriously how did this even make it to a best-sellers list ?
Not recommended unless you want to induce a migraine.