Release Date: July 25, 2016
Overview (No Spoilers):
The Summer that Melted Everything is a beautifully constructed and eloquently delivered debut novel that captures both the readers’ attention and sympathies. While the story itself is sad, incredibly sad, McDaniel weaves a tale that is so elegantly written that it crosses over into a work of art. Initially, while chatting with my coworkers about this book, I had mentioned I was going to rate it 4.5/5, however upon further reflection, I realized that the only reason I wasn’t rating it a 5 was due to the tragic subject matter. I personally struggle with this bias, with regard to the subject matter. I always love happy endings, or uplifting stories, however I try very hard to recognize this perception and try not to let it slip through to my ratings, as such I subsequently readjusted my score to a 5, of which this novel is well deserving. Throughout reading The Summer that Melted Everything, I many, many times found myself highlighting passages or quotes, due to loving the manner in which the unique sentences were written. My coworkers and I have been trying to come up with other books we deemed literarily beautiful and eloquent, and the one I found most comparable to this novel was Night Circus. The story is told through an aging Fielding Bliss reflecting upon his life, specifically the summer of 1984 that robbed him of his innocence and forever tragically, impacted his life, as well as the individuals of his small town. Overall, McDaniel does the near impossible by making such a heartbreaking, sad tale into a beautiful, vivid work of art that leaves the reader pondering Fielding and his summer of 1984 long after finishing the last words. Moral of my post, read this book!
Additional Insight (May Contain Spoilers):
- Poor, poor Grand! I cried so hard at his last scenes and the funeral! The scene where his mother finally leaves the house to go to the morgue was absolutely heart wrenching. An example of one of the quirky details that fill The Summer that Melted Everything is the fact that Grand is teaching himself Russian and phrases are littered throughout the text. How unique!
- Was Sal the devil? He certainty knew more than a poor farmer boy in southern Ohio would probably know. Was he one of the boys trapped in Elohim’s house? How did he escape? Where was he from? If he wasn’t the devil, he certainty had terrible luck. His character, while still a mystery, had deep insight for many of the characters from Bliss’ miserable Aunt to his mother. While some of the advice hit home and improved the character’s plights, other times it lead to terrible consequences.
- Dresden (what an awesome name!) was another heart wrenching character that met her demise when interacting with Sal. Again, another beautiful scene that is marred with tragedy!