A debut novel about an imaginative girl in the year following her parents’ divorce, and what happens when her creeping premonition that something terrible will happen comes true in the most unexpected of ways.
The year is 1988, and America is full of broken homes. Every Other Weekend drops us into the sun-scorched suburbs of southern California, amid Bret Michaels mania and Cold War hysteria, with Nenny, a wildly precocious, nervous nelly of an eight-year-old, as our guide to the newly rearranged life she finds herself leading after her parents split.
Nenny and her mother and two brothers have just moved in with her new stepfather and his two kids. Her old life replaced by this new configuration, Nenny’s natural anxieties intensify, and both real and imagined dangers entwine: earthquakes and home invasions, ghosts of her stepfather’s days in Vietnam, Gorbachev knocking down the door of her third grade class and recruiting them all into the Red Army. Knock-kneed and a little stormy-eyed, she is far too small for the thoughts that haunt her, yet her fears are not entirely unfounded. Indeed, tragedy does come, but it comes at her sideways, in a way she never had imagined.
With an irresistible voice, Summerfield has managed to tap the very truth of what it is to have been a child of her generation, bottle it, and serve it up in devastating, hilarious, heartfelt doses. Every Other Weekend beautifully and unsettlingly captures the terrible wisdom that children often possess, as well as the surprising ways in which families fracture and reform.