Author: Tiffany McDaniel
Release date: July 26th 2016
It was the summer of 1984 in Breathed, Ohio. Everything seemed to be going fine until the devil appeared, bringing the intense heat along with him. The devil came in answer to the invitation of Autopsy Bliss, Fielding’s father, but not in the form he imagined. Sal, who called himself the devil, came in overalls and with scars on his back which he claims was the result of losing his wings. In the overwhelming heat, tempers were at an all-time high and accidents and deaths were to be blamed on Sal. But is Sal really the devil, or was the devil in the form of another man?
Ironically, the raining season had just started in my state when I started reading The Summer That Melted Everything. So it can be safe to say that I didn’t have to feel the heat that was so vividly described in the book. I know what it’s like to be in the crippling heat where you can start to sweat even when you’re just sitting down.
I had initially thought that this book would have a little fantasy in it, because the devil doesn’t come strolling about in broad daylight in reality. The actual devil, I mean. Instead, the story was so painfully realistic that it draws me into having deep thoughts and caused me to shed a few tears every so often. The Summer That Melted Everything is filled with metaphors which gave me the illusion that certain parts of the story stemmed from the imaginations of a boy and the recollection of an old man who couldn’t discern between memories and dreams.
Turns out to be, the elderly man, who is Fielding many decades later, and the narrator of the story of that hot summer of 1984, was stuck in a prison of his own making. At the age of thirteen, which was when he first met Sal, he was just another boy in awe of his older brother and filled with innocence and happiness. It’s interesting when I realized that everything that happened in the book happened in the span of a summer. In a summer, a boy transitioned from child to adult, a young adult was drawn like a moth to the flame and die too soon. So much pain and confusion and fear took place in a span of just a month.
I think that although the people of Breathed blamed the heat as the cause of their anger and violence, they already had such darkness inside them. It couldn’t be described as being momentarily insane; the heat was simply a catalyst for them to carry out what they couldn’t in normal situations. There are always people with thoughts of violence and hate towards others. The heat brought out the worst in people. It was saddening just seeing how they acted against Sal in the book.
Sal was someone different. He was wise beyond his age, which made it seemed as if he had seen too many things in the world which made him older than his young age. He was both mature and innocent, but it was his innocent questions that somehow managed to stab into the real problem each member of the Bliss family faced.
To me, The Summer That Melted Everything was about the choices each of us is given and the regret of being a coward and not saying what was in our hearts until it was too late. It was also about the pain and burden of living in a past where you wish you could change everything. It was how people dealt with loss. It was the revealing of human nature and how repulsive it sometimes is. It also showed me exactly how fragile human nature is without God.
The Summer That Melted Everything was beautifully worded and the author managed to express feelings and thoughts in ways that not only allowed me to feel them but to touch them and to see them clearly in my mind. The Summer That Melted Everything is partly a coming-of-age novel that reminds us that not everything has a happy ending.
I would love to thank the author, Tiffany McDaniel for giving me an ARC of The Summer That Melted Everything.
As a little something, here’s the book trailer of The Summer That Melted Everything: