Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Summer the Wind Whispered My Name


Being a book review blogger definitely has its perks. There is a constant supply of free books in a variety of genres. The added blog traffic is a plus. But it also has its snags. When you get a book that doesn't tease you all the way until the end, it can be a drag to have to finish the book until you can get your next "fix."

At the end of January, I contacted NavPress and was approved as a book review blogger for them. They immediately sent out my first book, The Summer the Wind Whispered My Name by Don Locke. I was seriously impressed with the speediness of the whole transaction. I received this book before I received the material from another publishing company I had been approved for almost 2 weeks earlier. Very nice!

The book tells the story of a middle-class American boy living in Ohio and his adventures over the summer in 1960.

I was so excited that I immediately started reading that night. After the first few pages, let alone the first chapter, I knew this one was going to be difficult. Even though it is fiction, which I thoroughly enjoy, it was a period fiction piece from a recent part of history that I did not experience...the 60's. The author seemingly did not take this into account when writing the book, giving no description, or even hint, of the "iconic" characters and events included. Maybe I should have listened more carefully in my history classes. This made it more difficult to really get into the book because a lot of the allusions used went over my head.

I was also a little discouraged when it took so long to get through a small section of the plot due to the numerous side trails the author took along the way. For example, in a section meant to discuss an encounter Davy, the main character, has with his neighbor who is found lying on the front porch, he goes off (in detail) on his Uncle Frank's funeral and his first encounter with a dead body. There is a lengthy section on the cast of Father Knows Best and a four page section on Two-Ton, a kid's comedian that works with Davy's father. None of these add significant depth to the novel or contribute to the movement of the plot.

While I did enjoy the book a little more as I read further, I prefer a book that grabs me from page one, and this definitely was not it. There were some redeeming qualities, though. The overall message of the story is heartwarming. I was reminded of the need to truly be a neighbor to all those around me, even those who may seem different than me, even when it is the unpopular or uncomfortable thing to do.

Overall, I would recommend this book to someone interested in the 60’s and a good story of friendship.

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