Disclaimer: Anything related to Summer Sisters belongs to Judy Blume and her publishers.
Synopsis: Maizie has spent her life falling in love with the idea of Caitlin Somers, her mother. When she turns 17 she decides to do what no one else had the courage to do: search for her. What she finds and what she doesn't find rocks the life of her and her family.
Author's Note: It is impossible for me to possible describe how much I love this book. I read it twice a year at least and it never gets old. Every time I am left waiting to find Caitlin to find closure, so I decided to make some myself.
They named her Somers Mayhew Brudegher but her whole life she had never been called Somers, not even when Grandma Abby was mad at her. She loved the name Maizie; there was something mystical and personal about it. Especially when she learned her mother, the mysterious Caitlin Somers was the one who coined the nickname in the first place. She wasn't sure why she never wanted to change to Somers or even May, short for Mayhew, she knew Aunt Victoria used to go by Vix. Abby and Lamb still called her Vix, the way they said her name with such love and affection like she was their own daughter.
Abby and Lamb had told her Victoria was their "summer daughter" she was Caitlin's "summer sister" and from there on, it was history. Vix would tell Maizie all of these fun stories of Caitlin so that she felt like she knew her mother truly, but as she got older, Maizie knew it wasn't true. Lamb laughs when she asks him questions, "There's no knowing Caitlin Somers."Then he starts to cry, the kind of tears he pours every December 8th when he blasts the Beatles and lights a candle for the soul of John Lennon, "A true man" he'd say, "This guy was a visionary, extraordinary."
She wanted to know her mother, but the subject was gray. Hell, even Sharkey only told her the good bits, but she knew there was more to it than that. The way Vix went on about Caitlin was like she was a saint. Maizie would confront her about it every time and Vix would just say "Death makes everyone seem better; it makes even the most horrible villain sympathetic. So it doesn't matter what your Mom may have done, the point is, she was one of a kind, incredible." Maizie didn't know how to take that so she just said, "But we don't know if she's dead."Something hard always flashes across Vix's eyes when she reminds them of the fact that her mother may not be dead, that there was no body found, that even 13 years after the fact, nobody had heard from or seen her, and if anybody had, nobody said a word.
The mystery was too much for her to take. Oh, she grew up well; her Dad was really involved with her life. She loved Bru, she loved Star, and she loved her half siblings. She understood the odd family dynamic of Vix and Bru and Star and Caitlin and even Von but she didn't mind, she embraced it. Bru would never talk about Caitlin, "Let's just say she had wanderlust" he would say, using the word Grandma Phoebe used to use to describe Caitlin. "Just like her mother"she would say, somewhat wearily. Maizie knew Bru still hurt over her mother; still felt the sting of a short marriage and an even shorter time as a mother leaving him with a child he couldn't take care of. Lamb and Abby were good parents to her. Lamb doted on her and when she was a child he would cry often, not so much anymore, he had come to begrudging peace.
Maizie was graduating high school in a month, how the time had flown by. She was staying in Cambridge for school, but her last summer of freedom was fast approaching. She could go to the Vineyard, as always. She had never invited a summer sister of her own, but she stayed in Caitlin's old room she shared with Vix, the giant blow up black and white photograph of them still hung on the side wall. She loved that picture, the summer of her twelfth year she would stare at the photo, moving this way and that, putting her face where Vix's was, trying to find the resemblance between her and the girl in the photo. This was her mother as a young girl. Lamb caught her doing it once and instead of crying he leaned on the door frame, "You look just like your mother, Maizie."When she was young she loved to hear that, but now she was just reminded of how much she was missing.
Lamb had sat her down with Abby and told her that she had a bit of money that was left for her in the bank, "You can use it for whatever you want"Abby said. "What did Mom do with her money?" She asked, even though she knew. Vix had told her Caitlin stayed away for almost two years before she came back, and when she came back she still traveled everywhere. After all those years of traveling, about six by Maizie's estimate, why would you slow down? What made Caitlin decide that it would be a good idea to settle down? Did she really think she could do it? If she hadn't, Maizie wouldn't be here, but would that be better? Who knows?
She says she wants to travel a little bit, see Europe, start in Italy and travel around for a few months. Lamb's face goes ghostly white when she says that, she can see his palms sweat. Maizie encloses his hands in hers, "Don't worry, Lamb, I'm not a runner." He dissolves into tears, so quick to come to the surface. Doesn't Caitlin know what she has done? Abby rubs her husband's back slowly, her sympathy for him never ceasing after all these years. Maizie sighs lightly, "Why does every one cry? Why does no one want to talk about this stuff? If she's dead, shouldn't people be over it by now? Is it because she could be alive?"
Lamb looked up at her, "It's all that and more" he whispered.
"If she left you and cut every one out of her life then that's most selfish thing she could do, if she is dead, we have no closure" Abby answered.
Maizie straightened up, "I would never hurt you the way Caitlin hurt you. I am her daughter, I am not her. I would like to travel for experience and you have my word I'll come back."
Lamb nodded and gave her the laptop to make her travel reservations along with a check to cash.
Abby popped her head into Maizie's room that night, "Forgive him, baby, he'll never stop hurting over this."
Maizie smiled at her grandmother, her surrogate mom, "I would never hold that against him"
Abby nodded, "Vix and Gus and the kids are going to come up to the Vineyard for a few days at the beginning of the summer, so is Bru and your brothers, think you can spare some time for them?"
"Always," Maizie answered. She had some questions for them anyhow.
Author's Note: Please review :]