Tale of Two Summers – B. Sloan

TOTS(Not discussed by the group but written in a personal capacity.)

When asked ‘How did you come to write Tale of Two Summers?’, the author replied: I’d always wanted to write an epistolary novel, or book of letters. When I was informed by some students in Maryland that no one wrote letters anymore, it was suggested I do a book of blogs. Then I started thinking about the unique bond between me and my best friend from high school. Even though we’re total opposites, we’ve been friends for 20-odd years now. So I took this topic, added two first-time romances, one gay and one straight, and (as Henri might say) voila…I had my second novel,

He says of himself: I’m a writer, director and producer based in NYC. I’ve made feature films, shorts, and worked as a producer on other films/TV shows as well as web content. Also, I’ve written novels and short stories.

Two teenagers have been best friends for a very long time. One is gay. The other is straight and is away at a summer school so they write to one another almost every day and this book charts their lives, loves and feelings.

Some of the teenage slang made me feel elderly! As in:

“Re the party, that’s a big black hole of suckdom”
“Again, I’m sorry for harshing on you like that.”
“It’s been a crummy first day of you not being here in crappy old Wheaton, Maryland. If there is any place more boring on earth to spend a sweltering summer by my goddamn self, I can’t think of one . . . the sheer deadliness of our little ‘burb is really starting to bug me out.”

“On his suggestion, we headed across Veirs Mill Road into the heart of downtown Wheaton. Yes, that’s right-Wheaton! (Cue horror-movie music.) . . . Sure, downtown Bethesda’s cool and Silver Spring is even manageable, with that new minimall and movie megaplex . . . but crappy ass, nowhere-central Wheaton? I think not.”

How precocious is this?:

“… rediscover your lifelong process of channeling your flinty temper into your acting…”
“… later I got to meet Henri’s storied mother…”
“… but not in the way you construed it.”
“… I think she just says stuff like that when it fits her skewed worldview.”

Arguing in print?:

“I have to say , that is the most pathetic story I’ve ever heard.”
“Jeeeeezzzzzz – testy, testy. Give me a break and a half, okay?”
“It’s really not cute to call me a romantic dope during the biggest emotional panic of my whole entire life!”

“(remember all those birthday parties we went to there?)”
“(OK – I think I just mixed about five metaphors with that rant!)”
“(OMG – I’m starting to sound like a parent too!)”

There’s too much drugs in this book.

I am surprised that a 16-year-old doesn’t have his own house key.

And fear of commitment must be a good thing from someone so young.

Ultimately, I wish that people who get boy/girlfriends/married wouldn’t drop their best friends. You never know when you’re going to need them. Which is ‘like totally’ the moral of this book.

The author is a bit of a tease at the end, when he hints at the possibility of a sequel, which has not appeared.

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