I’ve read/listened to several books this year. Some have stayed with me and I think about them often, others I wish I hadn’t wasted the time finishing. Today we are talking about one that falls in the former category.
I initially ordered The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel because 1) I thought the cover was beautiful (I mean, seriously gorgeous) and 2) I was watching someone’s book haul on YouTube and it sounded interesting and different. I decided to read it in April because the curiosity was killing me. Boy am I glad that I read this book. The Summer That Melted Everything has easily cemented itself as one of my favorite books this year.
The book begins with an invitation in a newspaper for the devil to come visit Breathed, Ohio. This book takes you on an adventure that is an evaluation of race; good and evil; religion; and how childhood shapes you as an adult. McDaniel, in her debut novel, is able to seamlessly weave these themes together in a compelling and bleak story without it ever being preachy or forcing her opinions upon you.
At times, The Summer That Melted Everything, was a very difficult read and I even teared up in parts. The intensity of the subject matter presented in the book was enough that I often had a visceral reaction to what was happening. The characters were intensely flawed, well developed and often times unlikable.
I lastly enjoyed that the story took place in Ohio. Stories that talk about race and religion are usually set during the civil rights movement in Southern America. I appreciated that this story takes place in the 80’s and in the Mid-West. I hadn’t read any other books with this setting and this subject matter. (I’m open to suggestions, if you have them.)
I constantly think about this book, it’s themes, and its characters. I recommend this book to anyone who will listen and I am anxiously awaiting Tiffany McDaniel’s next novel (whenever that may be).