Montauk

This book has it all, love, lust, romance, greed, and tragedy, plus an examination of how we treat each other, and how we treat our natural resources.In the summer of 1938, the town of Montauk was the newest playground for the rich and famous, especially those who lived in and around Manhattan. In her book of the same name, Nicola Harrison explores class differences and the ways in which all people are the same, as well as how people, in general,  haven’t changed over the decades.

There always have been, and always will be cheats, bullies, those who feel superior to others, and those who know they are not. Beatrice Bordeaux and her husband Harry visited Montauk for the first time that summer. Believing the vacation will rekindle their romance, she agrees to spend the weekdays there, while Harry works in Manhattan, returning to the island on weekends.

Meek and kind, Bea is surrounded by social climbers who kowtow to Jeanie, the self-appointed “queen bee” of the women left on the island during the week. Pressured by Harry to make friends with Jeanie and the other society women, Bea quickly becomes bored with their frivolous activities and petty behavior.

Through Bea, who was raised on a farm, only to drop out of Vassar when her brother was killed in an accident, Harrison explores appreciation of the natural beauty of the Montauk region. She also explores present day distress caused by continued development of the land for the entertainment of the wealthy, to the detriment of the locals. Then, as today, many coastal families can no longer afford to live where their families have lived for hundreds of years, due to rising property taxes. They find themselves working for meager wages while serving tourists and the “summer people”.

After meeting a man who knew her brother, Bea finds herself needing to choose between the life she has, and the life she desires. Harry, who says divorce is unacceptable in his high-society family, soon learns keeping his mother’s approval is not the behavior of an adult.

I thoroughly enjoyed Montauk. I was, however, disappointed in parts of the ending. See what you think.

What Makes This Reviewer Grumpy?

Singular vs. plural disagreement, incorrect verb usage (was vs. were, bring vs. take, come vs. go, took vs. brought, loaned vs. lent), and the usual things such as split infinitives, many missing commas, confusing “further” and “farther”, misplacement of “only” within sentences, were), capitalizing words that shouldn’t be capitalized, such as “the government” and “the president”.

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