The Myth of Perpetual Summer

The Myth of Perpetual Summer

by Susan Crandall

Overview: From the national bestselling author of Whistling Past the Graveyard comes a moving coming-of-age tale set in the tumultuous sixties that harkens to both Ordinary Grace and The Secret Life of Bees.

Tallulah Jamesís parentsí volatile relationship, erratic behavior, and hands-off approach to child rearing set tongues to wagging in their staid Mississippi town, complicating her already uncertain life. She takes the responsibility of shielding her familyís reputation and raising her younger twin siblings onto her youthful shoulders.

If not for the emotional constants of her older brother, Griff, and her old guard Southern grandmother, she would be lost. When betrayal and death arrive hand in hand, she takes to the road, headed to what turns out to be the not-so-promised land of Southern California. The dysfunction of her childhood still echoes throughout her scattered family, sending her brother on a disastrous path and drawing her home again. There she uncovers the secrets and lies that set her family on the road to destruction.

Faith Bowers (09/07/18): I read it based on this websites recommendation. I enjoyed the story but I thought the writing was to wordy and repetitive. The point was how children deal with undiagnosed bi polar disease in the mid 20th century but I sort of got that with the first chapter. I liked Susan Crandallís other books better.
Rating: **

Judy Stanton (08/20/18): Writing about dysfunctional families is nothing new, but I felt author Susan Crandall did an admirable job of sharing a child-grown-to-woman's perspective. Her characters were well developed and their feelings rang true....from the grandmother's not wanting to share family history, and denying mental illness in her son...to her parents not wanting to live without each other, but having a hard time living together....to her siblings each having their own separate ways of coping with a family in almost constant turmoil. As the central character, Tallulah's struggles with so badly needing her mom....reading her father's up and down moods...feeling guilty about not being able to help all her siblings....are well played out, and lead, naturally, to her difficulties in relationships with friends and boyfriends. It is, truly, a heartbreaking story, that, sadly, is probably not far from some people's reality. Finding the ability to accept, understand and forgive is not easy, even when mental illness is recognized. I thought the book was well written and engaging, would definitely recommend. It reminded me a lot of Setting Free the Kites, which I recently read and also was a coming-of-age story.
Rating: *****

Debbie Weiss (05/30/18): This is a delightful novel about a young girl, Tallulah James, growing up in the South. Tallulah's family is dysfunctional. Her mother is more interested in protesting the latest political cause than caring for her four young children. This sweet young girl loves her father, but his mental highs and lows make him an impractical and ineffective father. Family secrets are tightly kept to keep up appearances and this never leads to happy outcomes.

The novel deals with the serious issue of mental illness, which can destroy both the individual with the malady as well the entire extended family unit. I really liked this book a lot and didn't want it to end, though I did like the ending. It reminded me a lot of Setting Free the Kites, which I recently read and also was a coming-of-age story.
Rating: *****

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