When I worked in Manhattan in the summers between my college semesters, I always wondered why, at 5pm on a Friday afternoon, the throngs headed toward Penn Station and the Hamptons on the far end of Long Island for weekends away. After reading this debut novel, by Sherri Rifkin, I now see what I was missing.
The story revolves around Tori Miller, a single woman in her early thirties, dumped by the love of her life two years earlier, and wallowing, despite the efforts of her best friends, in self-pity and depression. These same friends stage an intervention, strongly suggesting that she get over herself and get on with her life, getting her to participate in a pilot for a make-over reality show, and securing a share for her in a summer house in the Hamptons.
Miller, as she is called by her housemates, finds herself in the social whirlwind of a summer on the South Fork, including the company of a jet setting admirer who introduces her to the finer things in life. Thinking she could get used to this, she neglects to see that the person she is becoming is not the person she would like to be. It takes one of her male housemates to point out to her that there is another path worth following.
The novel is a story of self re-discovery, told with humor and not a little bit of tongue in cheek poking at the way the social set looks at itself. I love how Sherri portrays Tori. The reader really empathizes with who she is and what she has gone through. Her friends are colorful and add to the journey Tori finds herself on, steering her in the right direction when things threaten to go awry.
There is the requisite amount of sleeping around that you would expect in this setting, but it’s not explicit, for those of you looking for that. What this is is the story of someone finally answering the questions that nag at all of us at some point in our lives…. who are we now, and is this who we want to be?
This is an excellent summer read to throw into your “weekender” bag. An engaging first novel by Ms. Rifkin, I can’t wait to read what she writes next.