Shoulder Season

A Novel

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Pub Date 06 Jul 2021 | Archive Date 20 Jul 2021

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Named a Best Book of Summer by Good Morning America • CNN Parade • EW • Travel & Leisure • PopSugar • New York Post BuzzFeed Brit & Co • SheReads •

A dazzling portrait of a young woman coming into her own, the youthful allure of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, and what we loseand gainwhen we leave home.


The small town of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin is an unlikely location for a Playboy Resort, and nineteen-year old Sherri Taylor is an unlikely bunny. Growing up in neighboring East Troy, Sherri plays the organ at the local church and has never felt comfortable in her own skin. But when her parents die in quick succession, she leaves the only home she’s ever known for the chance to be part of a glamorous slice of history. In the winter of 1981, in a costume two sizes too small, her toes pinched by stilettos, Sherri joins the daughters of dairy farmers and factory workers for the defining experience of her life.

Living in the “bunny hutch”—Playboy’s version of a college dorm—Sherri gets her education in the joys of sisterhood, the thrill of financial independence, the magic of first love, and the heady effects of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. But as spring gives way to summer, Sherri finds herself caught in a romantic triangle—and the tragedy that ensues will haunt her for the next forty years.

From the Midwestern prairie to the California desert, from Wisconsin lakes to the Pacific Ocean, this is a story of what happens when small town life is sprinkled with stardust, and what we lose—and gain—when we leave home. With a heroine to root for and a narrative to get lost in, Christina Clancy's Shoulder Season is a sexy, evocative tale, drenched in longing and desire, that captures a fleeting moment in American history with nostalgia and heart.

Named a Best Book of Summer by Good Morning America • CNN Parade • EW • Travel & Leisure • PopSugar • New York Post BuzzFeed Brit & Co • SheReads •

A dazzling portrait of a young woman...

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ISBN 9781250239631
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Average rating from 311 members

Featured Reviews

I adored this book. I liked the characters, the story. All of it. I enjoyed seeing how each character had their own sort of development but also how they didn't at all. How when they were in the year 2019, they still had all these characteristics that they had back when they were young in their twenties at the Playboy House. It was sad but also very moving. When Sherri learned the truth about Arthur all those years later, at first I was shocked but then I realized, like Sherri, that thats just how life really is.

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I've always been interested in the culture surrounding Playboy. How it came into fruition and whatnot. This book examines some of that culture. Shoulder Season follows a small-town girl named Sherri who becomes a Bunny. Sherri finds herself playing front and center in a love triangle that will bring about life-altering ramifications. Highly Recommended!

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I was interested in this book mainly because of the setting. Coming from a big city, I love reading about the suburbs of the Midwest and the things that denizens of those places value and call fun. The narrator is very successful in making you have empathy for the main character, and this makes the twists is her life especially dramatic. However, I found the narration to be very distant from the main character's internal struggle, not really dwelling on the important bits, just chugging along, sometimes skipping or summarizing what I would consider important scenes.

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Take your preconceived notions of what it was like to be a Playboy Bunny and toss them, no, heave them at full force into the abyss. Shoulder Season is a decades-long walk in towering stiletto heels along winding country roads of Wisconsin's lakes and into the desert of Palm Springs. Sherri Taylor's mother has just passed away, just a few years after her father had passed, leaving her alone before she's even become an adult. Barely twenty years old, she's on her own, naive, and desperate for life to begin. A friend drags her along to an interview at Wisconsin's Playboy Club, labeled a "family resort", and she's hired. Caught up in the whirlwind of freedom, Sherri lacks direction and loses herself in the nonstop party making choices that push her further from her small town midwestern roots. Not ready for the party to end, Sherri crashes into an unimaginable disaster, and, finding she can't cope, she flees to California. Finally ready to get her act together, Sherri knows she'll never be able to let go of the past. But the past isn't always how we remember - and every person has their own version to add to the picture of what once was. Forced to return to Wisconsin after 40 years away, Sherri learns seasons change, people move on, and our memories may not be the most accurate review of the past. An excellent choice for book clubs - should be on everyone's summer 2021 reading list.

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I wasn't quite sure what to expect from Shoulder Season by Christina Clancy when I chose to read it but I was quickly blown away by it. Placed in East Troy, WI in the early 1980's, Sherri is a young woman who has lost both of her parents. Her father had passed away when she was younger and then she spent her late teen years taking care of a dying mother. So, when her best friend suggests that she come with her to apply at the Playboy Club in Lake Geneva for a bunny job she goes along on a lark. Surprised to be hired, Sherri decides she needs to belong somewhere and doesn't want to live in the apartment she shared with her mother, so the Playboy Club it is. We follow Sherry through her ups and downs, making friends with some of the girls, being pushed around by others and by the Bunny Mother. There are some nice men and there are of course the creeps. The pressure on the girls to always look and act a certain way are strong and when Sherry has trouble zipping up her uniform she resorts to speed to help with her weight. The partying is certainly part of the life the girls lead but there is much more to their lives and their struggles to be true to themselves. Clancy does a great job of showing us the complexities of her characters. I grew up in Southern Wisconsin and absolutely loved Clancy's descriptions of the area and mentioning the places that Sherri went while in the area. I have even stayed in the resort that had been the Playboy Club along with taking a boat trip on Lake Geneva. I hope I remember to tell all my school friends to read the book when it comes out next summer! Thanks to NetGalley for the advance read copy of this book.

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Interesting story about a down-on-her-luck young woman who lands a job at the coveted Lake Geneva Playboy Club. This offers an interesting peek into the life of a bunny, and I found it especially interesting as I live 10 minutes away from the abandoned Playboy Resort in Vernon. The story follows Sherri through a wide variety of experiences, from living in the bunny hutch and getting caught up in the life of being a bunny. The story flows smoothly and will draw you in with its vivid characters and the ups and downs of Sherri's life. The character of Sherri herself is not a particularly likeable character, but her story will entertain you nonetheless. A good solid read by a terrific author. Thanks to NetGalley for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

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At the age of nineteen, Sherri Taylor is at a crossroads. Her parents have recently died, and although she owns the building that has been their home, she can't really afford to keep it. She decides to try for a job as a Bunny at the Playboy Club in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, a short distance from her small-town home of East Troy, Wisconsin. She's always been shy and awkward, and never felt like she belonged anywhere. Being a Bunny changes all that. She has an affair that ends tragically and haunts her for many years, long after she moves on from Wisconsin to find success and happiness as an event planner for a museum in Palm Springs. The illness of an old friend eventually brings her back to East Troy for a visit, during which she discovers that things were not what they seemed to her at the time. Great story about a small town girl who gets caught up in a new life and goes too far, too fast.

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SHOULDER SEASON by Christina Clancy is an intriguing and compelling coming-of-age story both for one woman and a whole era. It is set in the 1980s in a small town in Wisconsin where nineteen-year-old Sherri Taylor is trying to figure out where her life is heading. She has lost both her parents and she doesn’t really fit in with the social life in town. Her best friend, Roberta convinces her to interview to be a bunny at the Playboy resort in nearby Lake Geneva. Surprisingly, she gets the job and so begins a time of excitement and camaraderie with the other young woman who work there. The other bunnies and the rest of the staff become the family Sherri no longer has. The work is demanding but the tips are enticing. However, the woman are soon exposed to a lifestyle involving sex, drugs and alcohol. Sherri will do almost anything to be accepted and she makes some life-altering choices with tragic consequences. As the story unfolds, it is clear that her time as a bunny will shape her life forever. The characters, although often not very likable, were portrayed realistically with compassion and empathy. The story is both enlightening and heart-breaking with a few twists I never saw coming. I enjoyed this well-researched and well-written snapshot of a singular time in American history and I think it would be an interesting choice for a book club read. I look forward to reading more from Christina Clancy in the future. Thank you to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the chance to read an early copy.

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I was looking forward to this book after I really enjoyed her last one. I’m here to say now that this book was so much more than I imagined it was going to be and is easily one of my top reads of 2021. It broke my heart, it had me feeling so sad for Sherri, but also rooting for her when something went right. I wanted to mother her and help her see how awesome she was. It was so well written and I just didn’t want the story to ever end. A beautiful book that I will be recommending to everyone!

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A fun, and sometimes heartbreaking read, Shoulder Season follows the life, loves, and ** of a small town girl who believes she's hit the lottery when she lands a job as a Playboy Bunny at Playboy Resort in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.. As you follow Sherri Taylor, you'll be swept along as she learns about independence, friendship, love, and a tragedy that will haunt her for forty years. As you cheer Sherri on, you'll get lost in this story of her life from the lakes of Wisconsin to the Pacific Ocean.

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Shoulder Season was a fascinating read for me. The setting of the book is Lake Geneva, Wisconsin in 1981. As soon as I read that I called my college roommate who lives in Lake Geneva and asked her if she had been there. Of course she had been to the resort, but only in its afterlife as a Playboy Resort. I had to look up all the details online to see the actual building. This was a very fun connection and I am fascinated with anything 80's. Having read Gloria Steinem's account of being a playboy bunny and having been a fan of Girls Next Door, I fell in love with 19 year old Sherri Taylor who stumbled into an interview to be a bunny when her friend decided to go for it. Of course, Sherri is hired and the friend is not, but Sherri quickly makes new friends among the other girls and quickly loses her small town ways to start to enjoy the after parties that were the real life for the Playboy employees. As time goes on and Sherri becomes more sophistacated with her friendships, a tragedy happens that affects Sherri for the rest of her life. This book is a fun romp through the 80's - such a unique time - but also says a lot about growing up, leaving home, finding your family, and finding love.

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