Perennials

Perennials: A Novel - Mandy Berman

They spent their whole summers at Camp Marigold, their whole summers! I can’t imagine this freedom, this opportunity to spend my childhood years with my summer friends without any parents around. It was usually the same set of kids and they’d pick right up where they left off last summer as if no time had separated them. They ‘d take time just to notice the physical differences that had occurred while they were apart, knowing that later they would take the time to talk about anything deep that needed to be exchanged. They had truly formed great friendships. With a whole summer ahead of them, counselors leading the way, the rules were stated but as the campers got older, the rules often got broken.

 

Inside this novel, we follow Rachel and Fiona, these two girls fill out each other’s voids. Rachel was the risk taker, the outgoing one, the one who seemed to be out there. Fiona, she’s the one who lies in the shadows, she is the girl who individuals can count on for she seemed to have what others want. Meeting at Camp Marigold, we read about how their relationship grows and changes as each year passes. When they first arrived many years ago, they were campers and now many years later, they have assumed the roles as counselors and are now guiding and instructing other female campers. On the outside, Rachel and Fiona looked responsible to the young campers but I had to wonder myself, if Rachel and Fiona were mature enough for these young campers and could handle this responsibility? It was the freedom of the camp and the individualism of each of these young women that had me questioning their role. Their actions and behaviors were questionable at times. Only time would tell, if this role fit them.

 

I loved the carefree atmosphere of the camp, the friendships of the individuals attending and the friendships that were promised next year. It brought back memories of my own experiences of summer camp. The anticipation of tomorrow’s activities, the promises of next year, the bond of being with your friends for a whole week without your parents and the stories. I enjoyed being away at Camp Marigold, the time walking through the woods, swimming, the late talks, the relationships that were formed and built upon and all the drama. It was good to be away, to experience camp again and to be reminded again of what camp was all about. There was a frustrating part about halfway through this novel, when I found myself whisked off into other individual’s stories, stories of secondary characters who suddenly got center stage. I didn’t really understand the need for these stories but nevertheless, the novel finally got back on track. I can’t say I was pleased with the ending but thinking about the novel, I can see why it ended that way, but it was not what I expected.

Thank you NetGalley and Random House for providing me a copy of the novel. This is my own opinion of this novel.