I have been sick! So sick that I was not able to get on phone or laptop even. For almost a week, it has just been me and my radio.
In my last post, I talked about the “Devil” and the book that made me think about the devil so much. Finally, I bring to you the review of the favorite book of mine of this year: The Summer That Melted Everything.
There are very few times when you do things out courtesy, but then you feel blessed. This book was like that. The author approached me for reading the book through the blog, and I said yes because she sounded sincere. I had no idea what I would have been missing if I had not read the book. This is the debut book by the author, but I can tell you it is mind-blowing. The way it is written is poetry in itself. The words, the flow, the suspense, and the questions that book raise– you are sucked into the world the author talks about.
Fielding Bliss has never forgotten the summer of 1984: the year a heat wave scorched Breathed, Ohio. The year he became friends with the devil.
Sal seems to appear out of nowhere – a bruised and tattered thirteen-year-old boy claiming to be the devil himself answering an invitation. Fielding Bliss, the son of a local prosecutor, brings him home where he’s welcomed into the Bliss family, assuming he’s a runaway from a nearby farm town.
When word spreads that the devil has come to Breathed, not everyone is happy to welcome this self-proclaimed fallen angel. Murmurs follow him and tensions rise, along with the temperatures as an unbearable heat wave rolls into town right along with him. As strange accidents start to occur, riled by the feverish heat, some in the town start to believe that Sal is exactly who he claims to be. While the Bliss family wrestles with their own personal demons, a fanatic drives the town to the brink of a catastrophe that will change this sleepy Ohio backwater forever.
The book starts with a description of 1984s and then explains how Devil arrived in Breathed, Ohio. Autopsy Bliss is the educated man who writes an invitation to Devil in his religious fervor. And Devil arrives in the form of a 13 year old boy Sal. Fielding, son of Autopsy, was first to encounter Sal, and he becomes the first friend of Sal, the devil. How appearance of the devil blurred the lines between the right and wrong, good and bad, is what the story is about. The story is about demons, and how we all uses different excuses to let that demon live and breathe.
I am not a writer enough to explain the plot of the story. You have to read it to truly understand the magic and mourn the devil.
What I LOVED
- Questions the book asked: The first thing I loved about the book is that it made me question myself. The story is so woven that there is no hero, no villain. All are in the shades of the grey. You will left wondering what’s right and what’s wrong.
- Plot: The plot of the books is tightly woven. There is not even a single chapter, single line, single word wasted. Everything connects with the other. Till the end, you’ll be biting your nails to understand what actually happened.
- Description: The book has amazing description. In fact the author has done a huge amount of research to present this description. The 80s are so well described that I felt that author was present there– seeing the story unfolding.
- Writing: Amazing, amazing writing. I know I’m repeating myself, but the books is poetry in itself. The book is filled with so many insights that my mobile is marked with all the highlights. There were times when I ended up highlighting pages after pages.
I am sharing few of the quotes from the book which just moved my heart and made me think so much. Probably these will make you think too.
“It was a heat that didn’t just melt tangible things like ice, chocolate, Popsicles. It melted all the intangibles too. Fear, faith, anger, and those long-trusted templates of common sense. It melted lives as well, leaving futures to be slung with the dirt of the gravedigger’s shovel.”
“After I fell, I kept repeating to myself, God will forgive me. God will forgive me. Centuries of repeating this, I started to shorten it to He’ll forgive me. Then finally to one word, He’ll. He’ll. Somewhere along the way, I lost that apostrophe and now it’s only Hell. But hidden in that one word is God will forgive me. God will forgive me. That is what is behind my door, you understand. A world of no apostrophes and, therefore, no hope.”
In the amphitheater of the great beyond, we all do our own autopsies . These self-imposed autopsies are done not on the physical body of our being but on the spirit of it.
I could actually type the whole book. It will not be enough to express my fascination and love for the book.
I cried like a baby when I reached the end of the book. I thought for days after I finished the book. I still want to question why that happened, why that happened, but in the end, the book changed me. With each sentence, each instance it showed, each question it raised, the way I see the world has changed.
I can read and reread and then reread the book. It is that beautiful of the book.
My rating: Five Stars.
Do, do read the book. You will not repent it. This is a promise. It’s an intense book which will make you think and make you question. And you will be left with the afterglow that an incredible book leaves.