Sloan, Brian. “A Tale of Two Summers”. Simon and Shuster. 2006
If some of you read my movie review of “WTC View” then you know that I am a fan of Brian Sloan. I love his short film “Pool Days” and I was enamored of the longer film “I Think I Do”. Now I have had a chance to read his fiction and I am still every bit the fan I was.
“A Tale of Two Summers” is a beautiful little book. It is basically young adult fiction which tells the story of two very different kinds of guys, normal teenagers who fall in love with each other. Chuck and Hal have been best friends for ten years. When they are separated for the first time one summer, they each fall for two different kinds of people—one an Arabian singer; the other a punk French kid who is very, very sexy. That is the summer mentioned in the title of the book. Hal stays at home to learn to drive, Hal goes off to summer theatre camp. Their contact is kept by blogging (whatever happened to letters?). They hold nothing back as each report on what is happening in his life. Even the romantic interludes are included. As they ripen and mature and their and their lives come together again, we have a beautiful love story.
The book is written entirely in the blogs that are sent between the youths during the six weeks they are separated. In the beginning they write about missing each other and remembrances of Hal are coming out to a straight friend the previous New Year’s. But soon their blogs are about love—Hal’s feelings for Henri, an arty French exchange student and Chuck’s romantic feminine interest. The book beautifully captures the teen years—the dramatics, the stunts, the depression and the anxiety. But mostly in captures the obsession of becoming who one is. It is an honest look at teens today—their lives, their loves, their disappointments.It is a wonderful and sweet novel that deals with a delicate subject. As the teens struggle to keep their friendship alive, they discover that the feelings they share will never be torn asunder. This tender, yet funny book is a completely honest depiction of those years we have all struggled through—the problems with identity, discovery, acceptance and first love. It is so beautiful to see love prosper and grow. “A Tale of Two Summers” is a wonderful testimony to young love.