The Summer That Melted Everything – Tiffany McDaniel
The Last Word Review
There are times as a book reviewer when a book lands on your desk and you are holding the book and you have no real idea what the book is about then you read the enclosed press release and suddenly your mind and imagination are captured written by Tiffany McDaniel The Summer That Melted Everything is yet another outstanding debut novel as if 2016 has not already provided its fair share of memorable debuts. This is one book that I will remember for many a day.
It is 1984 and the setting is Breathed, Ohio the heatwave has scorched the landscape and the devil has come to Breathed but not in the shape or form that you imagine. For Fielding Bliss and his family this will be year that they will never forget.
The devil does not take the shape of the devil you imagine him to be, but he takes the form of a young African American boy by the name of Sal who arrives looking battered and bruised and wants ice cream. Now you may think that there is nothing sinister here accept there is something else, Sal claims he is the devil and that he has answered an invitation from the local paper. For Fielding Bliss he too is a Thirteen-year-old boy and thinks there is nothing so strange with Sal. The Bliss family take him in and from here on life that year will never be the same again. This is the summer that REALLY melted everything and very soon it becomes apparent that the townsfolk start to blame Sal for everything that goes wrong. A young black African American boy arrives into town proclaims he is the devil and now everyone starts to believe everything that he is. So this is 1984 there some connotations within the story that make us think of another time and another book of that year.
The writing of Tiffany McDaniel is one of an author who has written many books she creates a vision with her words and this creates in the reader’s mind’s eye a picture of what life is really like and then you start to ask the question about Hell and if it is really here living among us now. It is a startling novel at times I felt totally claustrophobic with the story of the town called Breathed and its inhabitants and their thoughts and beliefs. The Summer That Melted Everything is a story everyone should read for what lies between the covers is a story of our fears racism and homophobia in society.
This is a story that will rip your heart to shreds and will leave you questioning so much about the world we live in today. McDaniel’s prose is unlike anything I have read this year and I have said that so many times from debut writers during 2016 this is up there with the very best. I implore you to get a copy and see for yourself why I make this one of my books of 2016. Totally unforgettable. Sometimes in life there is no happy endings and reading this you will see why. Life can be really cruel at times this book captures the very essence of who we are. For some readers this may be difficult to read as you will want to scream at times. But it is a book that is crying out to be read. And it must.
Thank you to Scribe UK for the advanced review copy.
The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel is published by Scribe UK and is available through Waterstones and all good bookshops.