Library Journal Review
The arrival of Miriam, a Swiss high school student, in the Haas household is actually a minor incident in the scope of this story. The true focus is on each of the Haas siblings-Kate, Finn, George, and Amy-and to some extent their always distracted parents, Marilyn, the B-movie actress, and Richard, the one-hit-wonder playwright. An odd bunch of individuals, this family together forms a mostly dysfunctional and tentative unit. What would-be fifth sibling Miriam brings to their existence is intermittent-she's sometimes the accepted outsider, and, for handsome and tragic Finn, she is someone who loves him and tries to save him from self-destruction. The narrative shifts from sibling to sibling, allowing each character to present his or her perspective and life situation. In the final pages, Marilyn is given the same opportunity. Readers learn how the children have coped with minimal parental intervention and later see them as adults struggling to make their own way. Verdict Debut author Antalek provides a captivating look at a modern family over the course of 15 years. Her memorable characters are ultimately likable despite their flaws. Strongly recommended.
-M. Neville, Trenton P.L., NJ Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
The Summer We Fell Apart, by Robin AntalekReview by Georgina Donlea, on August 19, 2011.
"In The Summer We Fell Apart, the four children of an indifferent mother and an alcoholic, self-absorbed father stumble into adulthood.
The most moving aspect of this very moving novel may be its author's relationship to her characters. By portraying each sibling's muddled life with tenderness, respect, and clear-sightedness, author Antalek proves herself to be the ultimate good parent."
-Martha Moody author of: The Office of Desire, Sometimes Mine and The Summer Sisters
The Summer We Fell Apart is a bright big-hearted novel about the complexities and heartaches of the way we live now.”
-Elizabeth Benedict, author of Almost and Mentors, Muses & Monsters: 30 Writers on the People Who Changed Their Lives
“The Summer We Fell Apart is a thoroughly entertaining and often heart-breaking romp through the chaos and comforts of a large and extraordinary family.”
-Jessica Anya Blau, author of The Summer of Naked Swim Parties
"Robin Antalek's debut is as haunting as it is gripping-- a story of the events, both mundane and dramatic, that tear a family apart; and of the often inexplicable love that binds a family together. The Summer We Fell Apart is a beautiful, memorable novel."
-Diana Spechler , author of WHO BY FIRE
"Reminiscent of The Glass Castle, THE SUMMER WE FELL APART tells the story of the four Haas kids, who are at best neglected, at worst utterly demoralized by their self-centered parents. It's told over the course of fifteen years, point of view shift from sibling to sibling, as they grow into adulthood. Each perspective is so poignantly etched by Antalek that you can't wait to hear what the next kid knows that the rest don't, what each can tell you about the others, and whether they will succeed in their efforts to rise from the cigarette ashes of their upbringing. With every chapter the story grows richer and clearer, as does your appreciation for their humor, their burdens and their devotion to each other."
-Juliette Fay, author of SHELTER ME