This is on my list as a must-read for young and adult readers.
In Summerland, Chabon sets his literary sights on creating an American fairytale, it’s like a modern American version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe featuring the greatest of all American sports, baseball.
Summerland is a place where the sun always shines and it never rains, not in the entire history of Clam Island. It’s where everybody plays baseball. The people of Clam Island are obsessed with baseball, as is Ethan’s dad. But Ethan is hopeless at baseball. He is so bad, he often just stands at the plate and lets the balls go by, much to the despair of his teammates.
But one day it rains in Summerland and everything changes. Ethan is recruited by a bunch of baseball-mad ferishers (American fairies) who want him to save the four worlds … with a baseball team.
Right next door to Summerland on Clam Island, USA there is another Summerland, a place where fairies, giants, sasquatches and all sorts of mythical creatures exist in perpetual summer.
Accompanied by his friends Jennifer T, an excellent ball player and pitcher, and Thor, who thinks he is a robot stuck in a kid’s body, Ethan sets off on a grand adventure, spurred on by the kidnap of his dad. Ethan’s dad has been tricked by Coyote, the biggest trickster of them all, who wants to end all the worlds by suffocating the Tree of Life.
Ethan flies off in his dad’s zeppelin-car to challenge giants, werefoxes, coyotes and many more strange creatures to save his dad and stop Coyote from ending the worlds.
This book is easy to ready and immense fun. Chabon has a created a complete fantasy world that you can’t wait to find out more about. You get the chance, too as at over 500 pages, Ethan has many adventures, learns a lot about baseball, American myths and meets a wide variety of mythical creatures (like the ones who steal your socks).
This is a coming of age story . Ethan’s journey from self-doubt to confidence is inspiring. He becomes not half-bad at baseball, trusts himself and his decisions and discovers who he really is.
You won’t be able to put down this magical and quirky tale.
by Michael Chabon
Published by Miramax Books, 2002
Other content and reviews of Summerland
This review was first published in The Student Standard, 20 October 2008.