In my story, the MC goes through a number of events with a common theme, each told in separate scenes. At the end of the story, he tells a friend about the things he experienced. Both the events and telling the friend about them are central to the story. The story is told in 3rd person limited with only the MC's point of view.
Now I'm wondering whether it would be better to simply summarize the events in non-dialogue:
He described everything that had happened to him over the last few days.
Or, alternatively, to have the MC recount the events in dialogue.
The advantage to recounting would be that I could colour the events via the character's voice. For example, he might decide to skip some events and embellish others. And maybe the friend could react differently to different events being told.
On the other hand, since the reader already experienced those same scenes (through the MC's POV), maybe it would be boring?
I haven't yet decided on the number of events, but I'm currently planning on something between 3 and 5. If I end up adding more, they'd be too small for the MC to mention them in his recount.
My gut feeling right now is that, as long as the recounting is short enough (e.g. "I got into a fight with John" instead of describing the fight in detail), it should be okay.
I'm mostly basing this on my own negative reaction I had to summarized dialogue in Dean Koontz' Cold Fire. It's been years since I read that book, and the section was really small, but for some reason it still bugs me.
At one point, the main characters are having an argument in fully quoted dialogue. Then, in the middle of this lengthy piece of dialogue, there's this:
Holly: "I'm sick of journalism." Succinctly, she told him why. "I don't want to be your swooning admirer either..." [change of topic, more dialogue]
So there's detailed dialogue, followed by a single sentence summarizing more off-page dialogue, and then more detailed dialogue. To me, the summary feels out-of-place, especially as it's described as a "succinct" explanation, which surely would have neatly fit in there with two or three more sentences.
For the record, there are prior scenes where the reader sees Holly come to this conclusion (that she hates being a journalist), so the reader already knows her reasons, but the dialogue still feels off.
When is it okay to recount events the reader has already seen in dialogue?