A Week at Surfside Beach by Pierce Koslosky Jr.

A Week at Surfside Beach by Pierce Koslosky Jr.
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Inspirational
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Thousands of families and individuals are attracted to the South Carolina coast each year, renting houses up and down the beach throughout the seasons. They bring their lives with them when they come to this magical place. In A Week at Surfside Beach, author Pierce Koslosky Jr. has crafted sixteen poignant short stories that paint a vivid portrait of the beach’s diverse, temporary inhabitants: those people attracted to a landscape both beautiful and overwhelming in its ability to force introspection and change. Set over the course of a single rental season that ends at Christmas, the book’s unrelated characters all have their stays in the blue beach house, yet each story has a distinct message at its core. Readers will follow people in every stage of life—from a six-year-old entering the imaginary world of crabs to an escapee from a retirement home—and witness their varied individual experiences. These are stories of hope and redemption, connection and detachment, and lessons taught and learned. Both original and contemplative, heartbreaking and inspirational, A Week at Surfside Beach brings together a collection of tales with seemingly ordinary, simple, and familiar details—yet underneath their calm, relatable surfaces exist the uncomfortable, extraordinary complexities of life.

A week at the beach can be far more than a simple summer getaway.
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In “June 6–June 13: The Inflatable Dragon,” an elderly man named John booked a week at the beach house in order to get away from his adult children who were trying to force him to move into a nursing home. While he was there, he met someone who needed exactly what he had to offer. They were two people who on the surface seemed to have nothing in common but who turned out to understand each other much more deeply than they would have guessed. I was pretty pleased by the process of them developing their friendship and discussing their problems.

There were some cases in which I wish the characters had stronger resolutions to their conflicts. Obviously, not everything can be solved in the few short days to a week that the audience has with each protagonist, but I do wish more had been done with three-year-old Lucy’s disappearance in “June 27–July 4: Lucy.” She was able to wander off because her parents were having an argument about something they’d fought about many times before. There was so much more room here for character development, from the parents’ stubbornness to a much deeper exploration of what happened to this little girl and why the police reacted the way that they did to the conclusion to the case.

Dan and his family watched at home in horror as a hurricane threatened to destroy the beach house they’d been visiting every summer for many years in “September 26—October 3: As Seen from a Safe Place.” Seeing them revisit old, happy memories about their previous trips there only made me more curious to see if their vacation spot would survive the storm and if their family could gather together there again. I felt invested in them and couldn’t stop hoping they’d have a happy ending.

A Week at Surfside Beach was a lovely summer read for anyone looking for something lighthearted.

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