She looked over at me for far longer than seemed comfortable, considering that we were now going sixty in a thirty-five-mile-an-hour zone. "See, that's the thing with you. You've got to come out of your shell. Life is just too goddamned short for that kind of attitude."

That morning, I'd made things worse, voicing the perhaps too caustic opinion that she was only interested in seeing Miles Noble again because she'd recently discovered that he'd become such a financial success that he'd built himself an enormous house—a place that grew larger, "twenty thousand square feet," "thirty thousand square feet, at least," every time I heard Peck express her enthusiasm about seeing it—in Bridgehampton.

Pointing out that my half sister seemed more intrigued with the idea of this extravagant evidence of wealth than she was with the man himself was not something that needed to be said, I'll admit. But she had been going on and on endlessly about that very subject—"Literally? I can't believe he's so ... successful"—since I'd arrived, so I wasn't exactly being the contrarian. I was simply trying to get out of putting on a dress and a hat and going with her.

Since then, she'd been even more impatient with me, and she made another noise when I clutched the armrest as she swerved to avoid a woman walking three Labradors. "Jesus Christ," I muttered, as we then narrowly missed a Range Rover headed in the opposite direction.

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Reprinted by arrangement with Viking, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., from The Summer We Read Gatsby by Danielle Ganek. Copyright © 2010 by Danielle Ganek.


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