Saudade Summer

Non-Fiction - Memoir
272 Pages
Reviewed on 02/12/2022
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Author Biography

Everyone remembers their first romance and will relate to Saudade Summer's story.
It is a comical look at growing up and experiencing the trials and tribulations of young love.
Saudade Summer has many layers. On the surface, it is a love story, but readers will also realize the importance of friendship, trust, believing in oneself, and what love really means.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

Saudade Summer by Donald D. Senese is a memoir of the author’s life as he reminisces about his past and how it shaped his present. For some people, one event or incident is enough to change them forever. It is his coming-of-age story where Donny got to experience the most eventful summer of his life. The summer of 1968 taught him many life lessons in friendships, in love, in what is worth fighting for, and what should be released. From funny little anecdotes, time spent with family, and finding that special person that makes your heart sing, this memoir is filled with nostalgic incidents and moments that transport the reader back in time.

Filled with memories (both good and bad), the narrative is a simple tale of how a single summer changed the life of Donald D. Senese. The narrative style was comforting and conversational. Reading Saudade Summer felt like sitting down with an old friend and remembering past events that we loved but somehow forgot. The pace was just right, not too slow or too fast, but a perfect mix that allowed the reader to become immersed in the series and forget everything else. I loved how the author highlighted emotions over events. While the events in his past did play an important role, it was the emotions that brought out strong feelings in me. I could feel Donny’s passion, his happiness, his sadness, and of course, the surge of first love that he felt. I would highly recommend it to everyone who wants a blast from the past without tears. I loved every single moment!

Edith Wairimu

Donald D. Senese’s Saudade Summer recounts nostalgic childhood memories and a special teenage romance summer story. Senese was born in 1952, in Ontario, Canada. In school he forged friendships; many would last for years. Despite the strict discipline that was instilled by the teachers at the Catholic elementary school he attended, his friend Bonesy could not keep out of trouble. When they proceeded to a public high school, Senese was drawn into Bonesy’s wild antics. In the summer of 1968, a friend introduced Senese to Trish. He was instantly interested in her but after a stormy first meeting, he was not sure she would agree to go out with him. Though brief, their relationship would leave a mark on his life. Years later, he would look back and reminisce over their encounter and other memories from 1968.

Through Donald D. Senese’s engaging story-telling, I was able to connect with the well-developed characters and felt almost as if I knew them. While I was intrigued by their conflicts, I loved the bond they shared. I also liked that Senese pens the memoir during a later time in his life, giving perspective to his youth, which taught me to appreciate the friendships I have and the memories we have created throughout the years. Saudade Summer by Donald D. Senese is a memoir filled with delightful memories shared among close friends. It is a heart-warming memoir that portrays the intriguing dynamics between its characters. Senese is skillful at covering a youthful love story that leaves a lasting impact. Excellently told through Senese’s thoughtful reflections, it contains a palpable feeling of nostalgia through which the exciting escapades and pranks shared between friends are recounted.

Foluso Falaye

One of the most fascinating things about life is that a beautiful moment can have a lasting effect on us, and whenever we recall this moment, a part of it remains with us. Whether he is creating the first male cheerleading group in the history of the St. Catharine's Collegiate or diving into a dangerous river at a mudhole, he is surrounded by his fun-loving friends—who contribute to his remarkable adventures. However, it wasn't all rosy for Donald D. Senese as we see him experience his first heartbreak—which he had to find closure from, even years later. Saudade Summer is Donald's highly entertaining recollection of the first time he fell in love in 1968 and the magical, spontaneous days of his youth.

Donald D. Senese's humorous and vibrant memoir took me back to my teenage days and the first time I fell in love as I read about the author's similar experiences. The book is a page-turner! Every adventure and exploit made me eager to discover more. It was fun to read about the characters as they have peculiar, well-defined personalities. I enjoyed reading about Tommy's rambling speeches and Bonesy's mischievous acts, some of which had me in tears laughing. Saudade Summer gives readers an idea of what living in Canada from the 1950s to the 1960s was like with details about historical elements, like some of the popular songs of that time and the hippie movement. The book reminds us to experience life and the presence of those around us while we still can. If you love to read intriguing, heartwarming memoirs, I recommend you read Saudade Summer as it brightened my day and had me smiling contentedly.

Susan van der Walt

In Saudade Summer, author Donald D. Senese reminisces about his childhood and teenage years, thinking of many incidents that shaped his life and the girl - Trish - that stole his heart one summer. Even though this relationship didn't last, Donald still felt its influence for the rest of his life. We see it in his feelings for young Elisa, who reminds him of Trish, and their summer romance. Saudade Summer is the memoir of an ordinary man, sharing his journey to find himself through his childhood memories.

Saudade Summer made me long for my own childhood when life was still simple. I've enjoyed reading about Donald's and his friends' adventures and getting up to mischief, from daring exploits like jumping from a bridge into a fast-flowing river to the more humorous tales of their male cheerleading band. I loved meeting his friends, each unique with their quirks, showing us the value of friendship, acceptance, and how they learned valuable life lessons from each other. He took these long-lasting friendships with him through his adult years. Writing this book was therapeutic, and through Saudade Summer, we see the author's development from an unsure boy searching for acceptance and struggling with anxiety to a man who is learning to love himself, knowing that he doesn't have to please others to gain acceptance. Donald D. Senese shows us that even ordinary life has meaning, and everyone can make a difference.

Natalie Soine

Saudade Summer is a delightful memoir by Donald D. Senese that chronicles Donny’s story of his childhood and meeting his first love. Donny shares the journey of his youth during the 60s, reminiscing about a memorable summer with friends and family, reliving moments that would stay with him forever. Finding friendship and love can be difficult for young people and while some will stay with us forever, a few will slip through our fingers and keep us wondering about what could have been. Donny’s memories take us back to carefree days and a simpler time in our lives. A time when kids in the neighborhood played outside games from morning to dusk.

Saudade Summer is a beautiful story. Author Donald D. Senese captures the essence of youth when the most important thing was to have fun with friends, explore new places, play games, and go to school. It was a time when the world was a safer place; when we could walk home at night without being afraid. The only way to see your friends was to walk to their home and our biggest entertainment was listening to the radio. The real-life characters are well described and easy to relate to, including Donny’s friends and their families. The photos included in the book show us what they all looked like and where they played. Any person who reads this story will be impacted by Donny’s experiences as he explains the challenges that children deal with. All-round, a great memoir, professionally written and recommended to readers of all ages.