In Summer Shares by Kevin Pilkington readers meet Chris MacCauley. To escape the pain from the breakup with Laura, his love of two years, Chris MacCauley decides to venture out to the Hamptons for the summer of 1981. Part-time poet, full-time college instructor, the best way for Chris to afford this adventure is to purchase a share in a summer home.
The other shareholders are strangers to him; however, when Chris meets Patty, one of the summer occupants, his interest is especially piqued. She offers him a full-time share in which he would cohabitate in a room with two part-time shareholders. One is male and the other is female. The agreement begins on Memorial Day and runs through to Labor Day. Chris plans on being out there on weekends while he has a summer session and then full time during his vacation. The others usually just go out on the weekends.
When Chris meets his new housemates, he finds them a bit eccentric, and some are also very annoying. As he gets to know them better, he learns more about the annoying ones than he really cares to. However, one thing is for certain, he gets a break from his ordinary routine and has the opportunity to share some experiences with a new group of people. Some of these experiences he would rather do without.
As the housemates settle in, their true personalities emerge. In addition to the attractive Patty, there is also the promiscuous Donna, and then a couple who appear to be in denial about how dysfunctional their relationship really is. There are also two lonely hearts that become drawn to each other as the summer progresses. At the end of the summer, when tragedy strikes, the group dynamics shift.
As Chris explores his interest in Patty, he also continues to hold on to his memories of Laura. This does not help his chances for starting a new relationship. He has to process through what he really had with her, and decide if the memories are worth hanging on to, in spite of them holding him back from moving on.
Chris’s weekends in the Hamptons really give him an opportunity to look within himself and make some important decisions. His interactions with others, whether they are one of the housemates or people that he encounters around the town, teach him a lot about himself and help him to realize what he really wants. Sometimes he learns what he doesn’t want by watching the others.
I really enjoyed reading Summer Shares. The author does an excellent job of creating unique characters that make the story extremely entertaining and usually humorous. The fact that the main character doesn’t always appreciate their uniqueness adds to the enjoyment of the novel.
Putting the story in the 1980s also makes it more of a fun read because the Hamptons were not as developed as they are now, so I think this allows the characters to have a broader range of experiences. Sometimes a scene will take place at a dive bar, other times there is one in a modern mansion. Reading this book gave me a great escape where I had a chance to laugh and feel sorrow. I highly recommend this book, especially if you need an escape or something to read on your vacation.
(Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views)