Reviews

The Summer Book, by Tove Jansson

simo_'s review

Go to review page

4.0

So subtle and yet so deep.

alexcomino8's review

Go to review page

lighthearted medium-paced

3.5

mitsein's review

Go to review page

5.0

magic.

desetoiles's review against another edition

Go to review page

lighthearted fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix

2.5

fearandtrembling's review

Go to review page

5.0

I was thinking that I was going to give this four stars but then I got to the "Of Angelworms and Others" chapter, where young Sophia dictates her treatise on angelworms and "other pitiful animals" to Grandmother, and finally understood how the book worked and what it was trying to do, and so five stars it is.

This book, like the rhythms of nature, requires close attention and patience. It yields its delights, especially its humour, in surprising, understated ways. It's deceptively simple, but deep, wise, and idiosyncratic. I was able to immerse myself in it completely and thought what a marvel it was, in how the formal structure mimics nature's time, and takes you out of the urban, automated grind of daily work-time.

The character of Grandmother in particular is fiercely independent and unconventional. I'm moved to learn that Jansson based it on her own mother. In the book, it's young Sophia's mother who is dead; in life, Jansson wrote this after her mother died. Reading this was like a gift; it depicts different possibilities of paying attention and ways of living with others without false hope or cynicism. Bittersweet, tender, and moving.

julia_ss's review

Go to review page

4.0

What a beautiful book! So simple but so intriguing, describing the Scandinavian way of living beautifully. The descriptions of the sea, storms, and plants are so lively and beautiful.
While reading, it gave me a nostalgic feeling of a life I've never had. The relationship between the grandmother and Sophia is so pure and straightforward and genuine. The juxtaposition of the grandma and the little girl is so interesting, showing how different they are but also how similar they get despite their age difference.
The way Jansson writes this book makes me want to move to an island with my loved ones and just enjoy the simple life.

Nothing but good vibes from this book.

yrlaevelyn's review against another edition

Go to review page

emotional funny lighthearted reflective relaxing
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Loveable characters? Yes

5.0

yanareads6969's review

Go to review page

3.0

I feel like an asshole for not liking this more, so let's just say it's me and not the book and I just wasn't in the mood to be charmed by this collection of vignettes about life on a Finnish island (because can you really say it's a novel? There's no plot). I did love that sassy grandma though - "can a rebellious phase come when someone is 82?"

harkless's review

Go to review page

reflective relaxing slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.75

lisagray68's review

Go to review page

lighthearted fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

2.0