A Summer Life by Gary Soto is a collection of 39 autobiographical essays in which Soto gives the readers a vivid description of his days in Fresno, California, as he grew from a young boy to a young adult. The book can be divided into three main parts, exploring his childhood days, adolescent days, and the period of transitioning into a young adult.
In A Summer Life, Soto describes the follies he committed and lessons he learnt while growing up, such as stealing an apple pie, and driving a car without permission. The incidents described in his essays are ones the readers are able to relate to, as it includes those follies and lessons one often commits and learns as a part of growing up. He gives the readers a first-person perspective of his childhood days, as he writes in detail about the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, textures, expressions, and emotions he experienced while growing up.
A Summer Life is light, easy to read, and designed to be enjoyable. It is a pleasant choice not merely for young children, but even for adults.