• The Bossy Bookworm

Review of The Summer Book by Tove Jansson

Jansson offers a vivid Finland isle setting, a wonderfully grumpy grandmother-granddaughter relationship, and the complexities of carving out a life in an unforgiving place.

This week my book club is doing something new for our holiday gathering: we'll each wrap a book we read and loved and write a brief, not completely illuminating description on it, then exchange, swap, and come away with a promising new read. Shhh, this is the book I'm taking!

The vivid setting of The Summer Book is a mostly wild island off the coast of Finland where a small family is living, and the grandmother and young granddaughter characters share a beautifully grumpy and wonderfully close relationship. I was hooked by their dialogue and discussions that were about nothing at all and everything all at once.

Tove Jansson captures the wonderful tension--of the alternating wonder and crushing boredom of many consecutive days spent wandering and observing the weather and the wild; the work necessary to carve out a space for themselves on a rugged island while desperately wanting things to remain undisturbed; the intensity of love and annoyance of either being with the same two other people or alone for months on end.

I delighted in every bit of Jansson's book and loved it so, so much. I could easily have read it in one night.

Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?

Jansson is also the author of the fanciful children's books in the Moomin series as well as the short stories and novels Sculptor's Daughter, Sun City, The Winter Book, and Fair Play.

You might also be interested in the books on one of my earliest Greedy Reading Lists on the site, Six Captivating Nordic Stories.