The Summer We Fell Apart

The Summer We Fell Apart

by Robin Antalek


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061782169
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/05/2010
Pages: 367
Sales rank: 1,304,266
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Robin Antalek is the author of The Summer We Fell Apart. She lives in Saratoga Springs, New York.

What People are Saying About This

Juliette Fay

“THE SUMMER WE FELL APART tells the story of the four Haas kids.... With every chapter the story grows richer and clearer, as does your appreciation for their humor, their burdens and their devotion to each other.”

Martha Moody

“The most moving aspect of this very moving novel may be its author’s relationship to her characters. By portraying each sibling’s muddled life with tenderness, respect, and clear-sightedness, author Antalek proves herself to be the ultimate good parent.”

Jessica Anya Blau

“THE SUMMER WE FELL APART is a thoroughly entertaining and often heart- breaking romp through the chaos and comforts of a large and extraordinary family.”

Elizabeth Benedict

The Summer We Fell Apart is a bright, big-hearted novel about the complexities and heartaches of the way we live now.”

Will Allison

“Full of the best kind of heartache, The Summer We Fell Apart is an unforgettable, big-hearted debut that will make you want to pick up the phone and call your own brother or sister.”

Diana Spechler

“Robin Antalek’s debut is as haunting as it is gripping—a story of the events, both mundane and dramatic, that tear a family apart; and of the often inexplicable love that binds a family together. THE SUMMER WE FELL APART is a beautiful, memorable novel.”

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Summer We Fell Apart 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 45 reviews.
msmommyreader More than 1 year ago
Antalek did an outstanding job with her first novel. I loved her characters and their struggles thorughout their lives. I especially enjoyed reading from the four siblings' perspectives. In this novel, Antalek takes us through the lives of four siblings who were basically left to raise themselves while their parents pursued their own interests. Despite the hardships that are faced throughout their lives, these children were able to overcome them and find meaning in life. Their journey is one that grabs the reader's interest and keeps it until the end. The book ends with an epilogue written in the voice of their mother, which nicely wraps up the story. Anyone who found Wall's The Glass Castle or Welch's The Kids Are All Right interesting would also enjoy this book. I think this would be a great book for book clubs. I think a comparison of this book to the two prior mentioned books would make for excellent book club discussion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I blazed through this book in one rainy afternoon. The writer has divided the book into 4 easy to read parts from each of the characters perspectives, and one part easily leads into the other as you follow each of the characters through struggling to find out who they are and how they feel about each other. The book captures a lot of the feelings and difficulties that sibligns feel as they grow up and grow apart and then try to come back together during trying and difficult times.
sandiek More than 1 year ago
In The Summer We Fell Apart, Robin Antalek follows the grown children of a dysfunctional marriage. The Haas marriage was renowned in theatrical circles. The father was a Tony-award winning playwright, but his career stumbled badly after this honor. The mother is more successful, still getting acting roles in her fifties and sixties. The question is why these two ever married and had children. The children seem to be nothing more than an afterthought, and the marriage revolved around the headgames and the serial adultry of each parent. Now that the children are grown, they have entered adult lives of their choices. Kate, the oldest and the father's favorite, is a hard-charging corporate lawyer, full of to-do lists and lots of projects but little time for emotions. Finn, the mother's favorite, has had alcohol issues and stumbles from rehab to rehab. George is a swim coach at a private boy's school and provides the most emotional support for his siblings. Amy is the youngest and is an artist, living in New York with her boyfriend. The book follows the children in their lives, especially in the time immediately following the death of their father. Antalek explores how we grow up, what sibling relationships mean and what we owe to our nuclear families once we grow up and make separate adult lives. The writing is immediate and real, and although the topic could be depressing, it doesn't weigh down the book. This book is recommended for readers who enjoy books about how we relate to each other and the world.
HVM More than 1 year ago
Once I got into this book I couldn't put it down. I wanted to find out about their lives past and present, to feel what they felt. Robin Antalek captured all that. I felt like I knew each member of the Haas family and couldn't wait to see what happened next. It gave me an insight to the struggles that I myself and my own family members have dealt with. It was written with such detail that I could smell and feel the surroundings. I felt like I was there watching the story unfold. It left me wanting more, I didn't want it to end! I hope there will be more about the Haas family soon! Well written and very enjoyable!
sparklenurse More than 1 year ago
This book was so easy to get through, so real, and so enjoyable...Great first book for this author. I can not wait for this author to create another book...Loved it !!!
RaeStar More than 1 year ago
Robin Antalek is a student of human nature. She portrays the characters in this story of disfunction and sibling relationships in a realistic loving way. The siblings' peersonalities unfold in an interesting way and invite the reader to love or hate the characters as they are put before us, flaws and all. There are moments that invite us to laugh, cry, and sympathize with the characters. We see ourselves in the passages. This is a good book that leaves the reader askin for more at its conclusion!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A vivid portrait of a dysfunctional family just trying to makeit to the next day .... beautifully written....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book so much that I am writing my first review. I absolutely fell in love with the characters. I loved the passionate love story centered around George. I empathisized with the loneliness and despair felt by , well, most of the characters, but especially Kate and Finn. It was just a great book with fantastic characters displaying how family can hurt and save you at the same time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful book, from page one. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it - I'll be first in line for her next book. Beautifully written, interesting characters, believable, touching. Thanks, Robin!
harstan More than 1 year ago
Their dad was a famous playwright who died when his career declined. Their mom was a wannabe actress who became a cult favorite for her B roles. Their four offspring growing up never felt they had parents as the so called adults in the Haas family of six neglected their children. The youngest Amy hated the constant tension as all she wanted was a normal life like those on TV. George wanted to love and be loved so in any dispute especially after his father died, he always supported their mom. The oldest Kate found escapism and solace in her studies as she became a lawyer mostly as a reaction opposite to her artistic parents. Finally the oldest son Finn turned to alcoholism and addiction to provide him a haze of avoidance. This is a fascinating look at a dysfunctional family from the perspective of the four children as the adult may neglect their offspring but the child becomes the adult. The story line is character driven as the demons that haunt each of the foursome and how each copes with them is deeply explored by Robin Antalek. Mindful of Family Pictures by Sue Miller and This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper, readers will enjoy this profound look at family relationships as seen by the children looking back as adults. Harriet Klausner
wolffamily on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Story of a family-5 parts told from the viewpoint of five different family members. Interesting but I didn't really like any of the people.
dawnlovesbooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
a family of tortured, damaged souls each tell a part of this novel. really enjoyed it!!!
amandacb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I found this book quite difficult to get into; it seemed to jump from time to time (i.e., past to future) without a clear delineation of how much time had passed. I found the first narrator, or point of view focus, Amy, to be bratty and self-centered, so that turned me off. George was by far the most interesting and sympathetic character. However, this just felt more like a mish-mash or hodgepodge of random thoughts thrown together; I understand the cohesive part was supposed to be the dysfunctional parenting, but that was barely noticeable--to me, anyway.
whitreidtan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The four Haas siblings had anything but a normal childhood, growing up the children of a once famous playwright and a cult actress, mostly neglected as their parents pursued their own dreams and desires. Told in four main sections (a fifth smaller section narrated by their mother closes the book) as Amy, George, Finn and Kate move into adulthood and on with their lives away from the dysfunction that reigned supreme throughout their childhood, the novel illuminates who they have become and why.Amy wants, more than anything, to be normal and to have a normal life. George is searching for love and the acceptance that no one aside from Amy ever offered him. Kate has shut herself off emotionally and in lieu of a relationship, drives herself through her high-powered legal job. And Finn, the least likely to make waves when they were younger, is drinking himself into an early grave. None of the four is undamaged by their unbringing. But each of the four is also struggling to overcome and to learn the happiness they were never taught as children watching their parents lash out at and destroy each others' lives with carelessness, apathy and disloyalty. Through it all, none of the siblings is capable of severing connections entirely. Each retains a shred of love for their parents and for each other which manifests itself throughout the years covered in the novel in surprising ways.Although there is no physical abuse, the scars of the characters' early lives are still raw and visible. And that makes this book sad in tone and emotionally draining. And yet, despite this almost despairing sense, there is hope in the fragile family connections they retain and in their developing abilities to make a new, stronger family for themselves amongst those who accept and love them in the end. The writing here is fluid and smoothly sweeps the reader along. The characters, flawed and pitiable as they all are, are entirely sympathetic. We are given more about Amy and George than about Kate and Finn but perhaps their aching for love and normalcy in their lives is more resonant than the workaholism and alcoholism of Kate and Finn would have been. The story was not full of action and fireworks but was quietly emotional and relentless and true to life. And yet there was a lost and wandering, a sense of melancholy to the tale that burrows into the reader, keeping the pages turning in hopes of finding out that these characters find some happiness and sense of peace for themselves in the end.The final section of the book, narrated by Marilyn, the mother of these four bent not broken siblings, was much more hopeful than the sections narrated by the siblings but it was almost a bit too hopeful given her absence and neglect from their lives to that point. Certainly her remorse at what she recognizes she's had a large hand in doing to her children is earned and their continued slight wariness in her presence feels authentic but without understanding how she has come to face her past transgressions, it seems so different from the rest of the book that it makes a bit of an awkward fit. A complex stew of modern day family, dysfunctions, and the things that keep us bound, however tenuously, this is a gripping, gut-aching story and one that will keep you thinking long after the last page is turned.
bearette24 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the story of a family with four kids (who are mostly adult in the timespan the novel covers) and neglectful parents (the father dies early in the book). The "children" are Kate (hyper-responsible, control freak lawyer), Finn (budding alcoholic), George (gay and lovable), and Amy (somewhat self-centered artist). While the characters were not always likable (with the exception of George), their struggles felt real. I liked how the author included a section about the mother at the end, so her point of view was explored as well.
bookwormygirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the way this story was told - five characters (four siblings and their mother) and their five points of view. It almost gave it a feel as if they were five loosely related stories - but in the end I think the stories were so well-blended and ran so fluidly from one to the next that I couldn't classify it as a compilation of short stories.The characters Ms. Antalek riddles these pages with will become your friends. You will laugh and shed tears with them. Their stories will make you fall in love, they will cause you heart break, but mostly they will make you feel as if you are a part of this dysfunctional family.This is an emotionally riveting book which covers a range of family issues ¿ a wrecked marriage, substance abuse, sibling rivalries, adults coming to terms with their upbringing and how all these issues affect their relationships.I picked this book up and devoured it within a couple of hours and was actually saddened that my time with it was over much too quickly. For fans of character driven novels, with loads of family drama, this is definitely one you won't want to miss out on.
zibilee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In this revealing family saga, the four very different siblings of the Haas family must come to terms with their approaching adulthood and with each other. Amy, the youngest, is constantly searching for normalcy in her life after a childhood that was anything but normal. George, the sensitive one, is looking for the love and acceptance he never got as a child. Kate, the oldest, is on a quest to drive the past out of her mind with hard-won success and business acumen. And Finn, the most damaged of the four, is slowly drinking himself to death in an effort to escape the past. Growing up as children in the house of absent and cold show business parents, the four siblings had no one to rely on but each other. But time has scattered each of them in different directions and given them different lives. Now the fast approaching death of their father will bring them all together again, towards the reconciliation and unity that has evaded them for most of their adult lives. Hopeful, yet at times painful, The Summer We Fell Apart is moving look at an emotionally complex brood of people who never give up struggling for harmony amongst themselves.Sometimes it's really hard to put my feelings about a book into words. This could happen for many reasons, but in this case I think the reason for it is because my feelings on this book never really reached the surface; they stayed at gut level and worked deeper and deeper from there. That's not a complaint about the book in any way, it's just that for me, the feelings in this book were at times very uncomfortable on a deep level. I would liken it to the feeling you have when you get a splinter in your finger. You know it's there, it's painful for sure, but it's not a gory wound that is up at the surface of the skin, it is buried and tender to the touch. That's much how I felt about this book. There weren't too many major dramas and messy confrontations sprinkled throughout the pages, but what remained was tender and raw in a way that wrenched my stomach.The book was a powerful read and one that made me really empathize with the characters. I think that it hit home so much for me because I grew up in a house with absent and emotionally uninvolved parents and I felt that the hurts that these siblings incurred were some of the same hurts that I had felt myself at one time or another. It was uncomfortable to see them all struggling to get attention from a mother who didn't know how to give it and it touched something deep in me to see them reacting to a father who was emotionally unavailable in the extreme. All the more complex emotions and themes of family life were there for me and I think that the author did a great job in making these characters real and believable. At times their reactions prompted a panic in me, for I was much too familiar with how they were feeling and those long forgotten feelings of the past were not always pleasant to revisit. This, I think, was a brilliant feat for the author to have managed; to have so masterfully created your characters that they scream with life and relevance right off the page and into your reader's psyche.The relationship between the siblings felt both unique and authentic to me as well. Each of the four had complex reactions and feelings for each other. Oftentimes those emotions conflicted with each other, which is something that I felt was truly representative of the relationships between siblings. I found the troubled relationship between Kate and Finn to be very compelling for me to read. Kate, the ultimate fixer, was unable to fix Finn no matter how hard she tried, while Finn struggled between his loyalty to his sister and his loyalty to the bottle, creating havoc in both of their lives. At the polar opposite was the relationship between Amy and George, a relationship filled with mutual respect and affectionate ribbing. I think that the author did an amazing job of creating complex and multifaceted relationships between her characters, not just t
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book. It kept me interested and I liked reading the characters different points of views.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I actually started reading this book and then got a notification that a electronic book I had on hold at my library was available, so I had stopped a few chapters in and then picked it back up again after about 2 weeks. It was interesting enough that I was able to pick right up where I left off and not have to re-read what I had already started. It was nice to see the different angles from all the main characters and to see the progession they each took. I would be interested to check out other books by this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This beautifully written saga of a dysfunctional family and the love they have for each other is wonderful! Buy this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I savored every page, every character, every bit of this dysfunctional family. I'm eagerly awaiting the release of her next book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago