Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Gap Year: Review and Giveaway

"Adolescence is perhaps nature's way of preparing parents to welcome the empty nest."
~The Good Stepmother, Karen Savage and Patricia Adams

Written in alternating perspectives, a mother and daughter reveal the events, thoughts, and feelings they experience over the course of about a year in The Gap Year, a novel by Sarah Bird, published in July 2011. As the mother of teenagers who drive me crazy at times (and vice versa, I'm sure), including a daughter who'll start college at the end August, I was interested in reading this book, in which a mother worries about her college-bound daughter. But I didn't know much more about the book or the author, and I had no idea if I'd truly enjoy reading this new novel.

Without further delay, I'll come right out and say that reading The Gap Year was a wonderful experience; I read most of it while in flight from NYC to San Diego recently. Instead of fretting about periods of turbulence, I was immersed in the worlds of the likable main characters, Camille Lightsey, a single mother and lactation consultant, and her daughter, Aubrey, a 17-year-old high school senior who's starting to become more independent. People talk about perfect beach reads, but for me, this book was the perfect airplane read.

In fact, I was so engrossed in the book that my 14-year-old daughter, sitting to my left on the plane, took note and turned her head to also read it (and told me to hurry and finish it, so that she could read it soon, by herself). Later during the flight, the man in my row by the window, whom I'd conversed with only briefly and perfunctorily (don't bother me, I'm reading), also noticed my intent reading and said that he wanted to read this book as well. The Gap Year is touching and funny (I laughed out loud more than once) and realistic, and I simply basked in it. In addition to my appreciation of the author's wit and fluid writing style, this book also made me decide to react more sensitively toward my teenaged daughters. Time and experience have toughened me up a great deal, but I certainly remember the overly sensitive days of my (boy-crazy) youth, and the extreme self-consciousness that was sometimes paralyzing; I realized while reading this that my daughters (and daughters everywhere) are struggling to become independent, to become themselves, and that I should respect their feelings and efforts, and back off some. Based on my enjoyment of this book, I'd really like to read more of Sarah Bird's work, which consists of eight novels.

Great news! Alfred A. Knopf Publishers is generously offering a copy of The Gap Year as a giveaway to a lucky reader (U.S./Canada only).

  • To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment.
  • For another chance at winning, become a follower of this blog, or let me know that you're already a follower, or that you subscribe in Google Reader.
  • For an additional chance, post about this contest on your blog, Facebook, or Twitter.

Enter by 5PM PDT on Monday, August 22. One winner will be randomly chosen and announced on Tuesday, August 23. Good luck!

Special thanks to Lisa from TLC for sending me an uncorrected proof of this book. I did not quote from the book for that reason (sometimes I do bend the rules a tad, but in this case I chose not to). For other reviews of this novel, please visit the other stops on TLC's The Gap Year book blog tour.

39 comments:

  1. Hi Susan;
    This seems like a good book.
    No need to enter me in the giveaway, just wanted to lend my support.
    Mike

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  2. I loved this book as well, and couldn't get over how funny it was. I thought that the mother/daughter struggle was very realistic as well. This was a great review, Suko, and I think it's really neat that you got so many people interested in the book!

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  3. SOunds like a fantastic read. I hope your daughter will also review it once she is done :)

    Please enter me for the giveaway too.

    givingreadingachance AT gmail.com

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  4. sounds like it made for a fast plane ride! thank you for the contest!!

    inthehammockblog at gmail dot com

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  5. Sounds like you made a few "sales" of the book!!! I've been hearing good things about this book so far.

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  6. I've been wanting to read this. I like that we will get to hear from both the mother and the daughter. Please count me in!

    jaidahsmommy(at)comcast(dot)net

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  7. GFC follower Tiffany Drew

    jaidahsmommy(at)comcast(dot)net

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  8. High recommendation indeed, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Good luck all who enter your giveaway. My apologies if I don't add it to the comp/giveaway page on my blog, at present its all I can do to keep up on posting and visiting.

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  9. I havent read this yet but it looks great!

    katie_tp(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  10. GFC follower (Katie)

    katie_tp(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  11. Sounds really good! I'm a GFC follower

    yvone473[at]optonline[dot]net

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  12. Wish my mom could have read this book when I went off to college five years ago :-D This book sounds great! Thanks for sharing :)

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  13. sounds like a very interesting book for sure I like the multiple points of view

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  14. This does sound like an enjoyable read. Thanks for the great review!

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  15. This is one all moms of teens should definitely read! It's a great reminder that we spend all of these years teaching our children to become independent when they get older but we often forget to let them be independent!

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  16. I'm about to start my freshman year of college, so this book seems perfect to take along with me for my first term!

    +1 follower through GFC

    Thanks for the contest!

    jennapomme[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  17. I like a lot your post Suko and the quote before it !

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  18. I love Sarah Bird am looking forward to reading this book!
    kessna6@yahoo.com

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  19. I would love to read this book!!
    bookquoter(at)gmaildotcom

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  20. Sounds like a great read, glad you enjoyed it. It's great when you can read a book, then share it with your teenager as well. 'self-consciousness that was sometimes paralyzing'<-I remember those days and *sigh* now I've come to witness this in both my kids.

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  21. YOU..boy crazy? That makes me laugh :).
    Having my third son leave for college this year, I am rather getting used to the heart-wrenching good-byes and elated welcome homes. They DO come back, by the way, and I'd have it no other way!

    I don't know how I will react when my only daughter leaves in 4 years. I'll enjoy the high school years for now. I'm a follower!

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  22. This sounds really good! And I am all about a book that can open up your eyes to maybe seeing something in a different way. Please enter me, and also I am a new subscriber.
    jennala(at)cfl(dot)rr(dot)com

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  23. I so love the cover. I would love to win this!

    I'm a GFC follower: frunchezzcuh

    hellgirl_fran@yahoo.com

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  24. This one looks like it would be very interesting. I am now a follower. My e-mail is smithlinda60(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  25. I would love to enter!
    nataliew2@gmail.com

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  26. I like books that make you laugh out loud.

    chocolateandcroissants at yahoo . com

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  27. Sounds like a good book! Count me in!

    I'm a also a follower.

    Margaret
    singitm@hotmail.com

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  28. Well, I don't have a daughter, but I do love a good read. My son has already finished collage!

    nineteen19 at blackfoot dot net

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  29. GFC follower
    nineteen19 at blackfoot dot net

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  30. I love how you influenced everyone around you to read this as well!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour. I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.

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  31. Wow - this sounds like a great book! If you keeps you that absorbed and makes you laugh, it sounds like a book I'd love to try as well!

    I'm already a follower.

    laarlt78(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  32. I am already a follower and loved the story about your daughter and the man next to you on the plane.
    booksnobsblog at gmail dot com

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  33. Would love to read this one. Please enter me.
    laura at laurafabiani dot com

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  34. This sounds like a great book! Thanks for the chance.

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

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  35. GFC Follower

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

    ReplyDelete
  36. I subscribe via reader

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

    ReplyDelete
  37. Tweet! Tweet!
    @NancyeDavis

    http://twitter.com/#!/NancyeDavis/status/105831644308574209

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

    ReplyDelete
  38. I posted this giveaway on my FB Wall

    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/nancyecdavis/posts/263331700361239

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

    ReplyDelete
  39. Wasn't this a fun read? I have also read and enjoyed other books by Bird so since you liked this one, you could have a lot of really fun reading ahead of you.

    ReplyDelete

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