Published by St. Martin's Press on July 26th 2016
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The Summer that Melted Everything could also be titled The Summer that Everyone lost their damn fool minds.
I love books that cause me to think and feel. This did both. After reading this book, I sat and thought about it for quite some time.
“You can imagine anything you want in the dark. You can imagine your father loves you, you can imagine your mother is not disappointed, you can imagine that you are…significant. That you mean somethin’ to someone. That’s all I ever wanted, Fielding. To matter. That is all I’ve ever wanted.”
So I am doing thinking. What I do think is that hatred is such an ugly thing. Ignorance is such an ugly thing. Regret will wear you down and that one summer can forever change a life.
This was a very beautifully written book. Very lyrical at times. There are so many passages in this book that I highlighted on my kindle that if I included them all there would be no room for my review. At times the atmosphere felt like it was dripping along with the sweat from people’s bodies.
I have heard many times while obtaining my degrees in Clinical Psychology that that Murder/Homicides go up with ice cream sales. We are taught that it is a coincidence. But heat does something doesn’t it. Don’t we all get a little irritable when overheated? Can the heat really make people crazy?
During a Hot (as in the hottest ever) summer in Breathed, Ohio, Autopsy Bliss places an ad in the local newspaper:
“Dear Mr. Devil, Sir Satan, Lord Lucifer, and all other crosses you bear,
I cordially invite you to Breathed, Ohio. Land of hills and hay bales, of sinners and forgivers.
May you come in peace.
With great faith,
Did he ever expect anyone to show up? What were his motivations? What in the world?
But then a dirty, bruised, 13 year old boy arrives, claiming to be the devil who has come to answer the invitation. Fielding Bliss, Autopsy’s youngest son, brings him home and introduces him to his family. Surely he must be a runaway. Clearly he cannot be the devil…can he? Word spreads, as it often does in small towns, that the devil has in fact arrived in Breathed, Ohio and along with him strange occurrences.
“I’m the devil. No one tells me when to stay and when to leave. But it sure is nice to be wanted. I tell you, Fielding, it sure is nice to be wanted in this very place.”
Wanted by some (the Fielding family) hated by others (who shall remain un-named here). I really liked the Fielding family. The Mother, so afraid of rain, Autopsy trying to do right, Grand who loved his brother and always looked out for him…….then there was Sal, claiming to be the devil who spoke so eloquently that it was hard to believe he was 13 years old.
Tragic events unfold. Some very horrific and tragic events unfold. There are secrets in this town. So many secrets and some Fielding begins to learn. The book has so many themes: agoraphobia, brotherly love, abuse, acceptance, hate, homophobia, racism.
The story is told by Fielding in 1984 and we see him as an adult in the future. How did he get to be the adult he was? As you read, you see how one summer can change lives. How regret and hindsight have plagued him. Most is about his brother. What if he had stopped him? What if he had reached out as he brother passed the doorway? So many what ifs. The way we punish ourselves for being human.
“Pain is our most intimate encounter. It lives on the very inside of us, touching everything that makes us. It claims your bones, it masters your muscles, it reels in your strength, and you never see it again. The artistry of pain is its content. The horror of it is the same.”
Such an emotionally moving book. Highly recommend. Some horrible things happen so be warned and grab a kleenex.