Reviews > Published on June 16th, 2015

Bookshots: 'Summerlong' By Dean Bakopoulos

Bookshots: Pumping new life into the corpse of the book review


Title:

Summerlong

Who wrote it?

Bakopoulos is a very talented novelist and there are some great, funny passages in this novel.

Novelist and Guggenheim Fellow, Dean Bakopoulos.

Plot in a box:

Don and Claire are a happy, successful suburban couple, until one night, Don smokes some weed with a hot young college drop out, and Claire goes out for a run and bums some smokes and beers outside of the local convenience store, and “hilarity” ensues.

Invent a new title for this book:

You Might Just Have White People Problems

Read this if you liked:

The Ice Storm By Rick Moody, The Financial Lives of the Poets By Jess Walter

Meet the book's lead(s):

Successful real estate broker, Don, and his wife Claire. Both of them miss being young, a lot, and haven’t figured out that it’s okay to smoke a little weed and cigarettes now and then after you turn 40 as long as you don’t turn it into an issue.

Said lead(s) would be portrayed in a movie by:

I don’t know, pick two moderately good looking, comedic Hollywood actors. Any two, and they’ll fit the bill just fine.

Setting: Would you want to live there?

I pretty much already do, and so do you if you don’t live in Manhattan or San Francisco. So, yeah, I guess.

The Verdict:

I love genre cliches.

Vampires!

Alien invasions!

Tormented Private Investigators!

Whenever I get to read one of these well worn and utterly predictable story types for review my nipples get so hard they could cut glass! Hell, they could cut diamonds!

But the one genre cliche that gets me the most excited is suburban ennui, also known as white people problems. Oh, man, whenever I get to read about a paunchy (usually they aren’t so paunchy, and are instead in retired pro-athlete level good shape), middle aged professor/advertising executive/investment banker falling for a girl half his age, I need to be wearing a diaper because I am going to be so riveted that I’m not moving from wherever I’m sitting until I make it to the final page when the professor/advertising executive/investment banker finally figures out that his life actually isn’t all that bad, and that he still loves his wife and his kids and the wonderful life that’s been basically handed to him, I just can’t help myself and I shed tears of joy and happiness!

I also really love sarcasm.

You know, the reason why genre cliches exist is because people love them, or at least we’re told that people love them and that’s why so many vampire novels and stories of suburban ennui get published. And you know what, I’ve read some great vampire books as well as more than a few truly great novels of suburban ennui. Hell, one of my favorite novels is Revolutionary Road, which is the undisputed champion of suburban ennui.

So, does this overly long diatribe about literary cliche mean I hated Summerlong? The answer is no. Bakopoulos is a very talented novelist and there are some great, funny passages in this novel, and if you’re a fan of suburban angst and moderately funny middle aged shenanigans, then Summerlong is going to be right up your alley. For everybody else, I’m sure there’s some other favorite literary cliche that you can find to read instead.

About the author

Keith Rawson is a little-known pulp writer whose short fiction, poetry, essays, reviews, and interviews have been widely published both online and in print. He is the author of the short story collection The Chaos We Know (SnubNose Press)and Co-Editor of the anthology Crime Factory: The First Shift. He lives in Southern Arizona with his wife and daughter.

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