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 James’s parents’ 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 family’s 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.
Alas, the rumor is true, Susan was a dental hygienist in her previous career. However, she "retired" from that profession many years ago and has been a full-time author ever since--thanks to all of you fabulous readers.
Susan grew up in a small Indiana town, married a guy from that town, and then moved to Chicago for a while. She is pleased to say that she has been back in her hometown for many years and plans to stay.
She's received a RITA, two National Reader's Choice Awards and a SIBA Award for Fiction. Her books include an Indie Next Pick, Okra Picks, a Target Book Club pick, and are popular with book clubs.
THE MYTH OF PERPETUAL SUMMER will be released June 19, 2018.
5 southern family secret stars to The Myth of Perpetual Summer, my first favorite read of summer! 🌺🌺🌺🌺🌺
Set in Mississippi in the 1960s and 70s, Tallulah James’ story is memorable and haunting. Her parents have a tumultuous relationship sparked by a self-absorbed, yet bleeding-heart when it comes to social causes outside her own home, mother, and a father with an at times debilitating mental illness.
The town is always talking about the high profile Jameses, including lurid family secrets past and present. Tallulah, though not the oldest child, takes the helm of the ship when it comes to protecting her fragile family. Her right hand is her steadfast brother, Griff, and her left hand is her quintessentially southern paternal grandmother.
Explosive events cause Tallulah to leave her family behind, and the story actually opens with her return to Mississippi years later, once again trying to shoulder the responsibility of repairing and bolstering her family. The Myth of Perpetual Summer is then told through past and present chapters allowing the reader to get to know the James family, good, bad, and in between, loving and full of life.
Tallulah is head strong and morally convicted, and she has the most genuine love for each of her family members. In return, she is loved back by the likes of her older brother, Griff, who could not have been more nurturing and caring, her younger brother, Walden, innocent and yearning for his place, as well as, Dharma, her younger sister, a bit dramatic and self-absorbed like their mother. I also cannot forget Ross, Griff’s best friend, and Tallulah’s friend, too. What a love Ross is, and a true, faithful friend to this family.
The family is dysfunctional, yes, but there is so much love and sacrifice for one another. Set on a backdrop of the major events of the time, the civil rights movement and the Vietnam war, The Myth of Perpetual Summer is a huggable book, one where a family’s secrets may be larger than life, but the thread of love that unites them may be enough to absolve their tragic past.
Thank you Susan Crandall, a most gifted storyteller, Gallery Books, and Netgalley for the complimentary copy. The Myth of Perpetual Summer will be published on June 19, 2018.
The Myth of Perpetual Summer by Susan Crandall is a 2018 Gallery Books publication.
Heart wrenching southern style coming of age tale, bracketed into a touching story of eventual hope!
Mississippi during the 60s and 70s is boiling pot of tension and scrutiny. It’s the perfect backdrop for this coming of age story centered around Tallulah James and her dysfunctional southern family.
Tallulah copes as best she can in a house full of secrets and miseries. Her father exhibits the hallmark symptoms of mental illness in a time when it was something people didn’t understand or discuss. Her mother has little regard for parenthood, which leaves Tallulah, her brother, Griff, and younger twin siblings under their grandmother’s supervision most of the time.
Her grandmother’s overwhelming emphasis on propriety is overbearing, and her parent’s constant arguments and failings, leaves Tallulah desperate to escape Mississippi. Eventually, circumstances force her hand, propelling her to leave home and start a new life for herself. But several years later, a horrendous family situation sends Tallulah racing back home, back into her grandmother’s life, where she also reconnects with her old friend, Ross.
As memories from the past collide with the present, the family is finally forced to face the buried truths that have burdened them for far too long, paving the way for long overdue understanding, forgiveness, redemption, and healing.
I have been trying to work this book into my reading schedule for over a year and a half. It was supposed to be a summertime beach read for me, but I’m glad I ended up reading the book now, instead. It’s been a cold, dreary week, (proving there is no perpetual summer in Texas either, contrary to popular belief), and this book pulled me away from my present time and place, sucking me into a good old- fashioned southern family drama.
This story is absorbing, and so heartbreakingly sad. My heart ached for these children who longed for paternal love and guidance, but all too often had to be the adults in the family. Dark, buried secrets, is the foundation upon which lies, and scandals and whispers are built around the family, and Tallulah bears the brunt of something she doesn’t fully understand, as a teenage girl.
While the simmering Mississippi climate creates a haunting and taut atmosphere, the emotions run long and deep, building and cloying, desperate for a release. The dam will finally burst, and the relief is palpable and immediate. While the aftermath still leaves some uncertainty to contend with, overall, the predominant feeling is one of hope and new beginnings.
This is a terrific drama, which addresses a host of family issues, but with an emphasis on mental illness. The time frame reveals how once taboo topics are finally becoming less stigmatized and better understood.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Ross is THE show stealer! He is the most satisfying character in the book, all the way around. His unconditional love, patience, kindness, and loyalty are a much- needed balm. However, I also thought his own bit of family rebelliousness, which resulted in a most fitting career choice, was wonderfully ironic.
Although this book was marketed as a summer beach read, the weightiness is balanced enough to make it a great year -round choice. If you enjoy family sagas, historical fiction, or coming of age stories- this book is one you might want to consider!
3.5 Tallulah James, adore the name and adore the fiesty young lady to which it belongs in this quiessentially southern novel. Mississippi, the sixties, Lulie as she is called, and her brother Griff are close, doing the best they can to take care of their two younger siblings. They do have parents, but the mother Margo is more interested in various causes, than she is in the children she bore. Their father, well let's just say he is present when he can be, but sometimes he is brought low, and sometimes he is too shiny. Their grandmother, in self denial, does what she can to hold things together, until something happens that changes everything.
There is just something in southern novels that I am drawn to, family secrets, keeping up appearances, concern for ones reputation, and the art of keeping on no matter what happens, are a few. All found in this book. A coming of age tale, a broken family, set against the Civil Rights movement and the Vietnam War. Going away, coming home, for a heartbreaking reason, yet now being older, better able to see the good with the bad. Starting over, finding happiness in places one thought they had left. Putting pieces back together, bringing the secrets out in the open so one can heal.
I enjoyed this book, the characters, the setting, the plot, all inviting. A heroine one wants to succeed, no matter where she goes, or what she does.
"Well, it was an unpleasant time."
"Now there's a genteel Southern understatement for life being ripped apart by a cataclysmic shit storm."
The drama of a dysfunctional Southern family plays out on the pages of THE MYTH OF PERPETUAL SUMMER, and woven in between is the tumultuous coming-of-age story of Tallulah James.
On the one hand, the writing in this book is quite beautiful. I was wrapped up in the sense of place and time the author conveyed, of Tallulah's small Mississippi hometown in the late 50s and early 60s.
There are many facets to this story, and really I wasn't sure what one was supposed to be the main focus. The book begins in 1972, when Tallulah returns to Lamoyne, MS, after a long absence. Her younger brother has been arrested for murder, and her grandmother needs her help.
The timeline alternates between 1972 and the 1950s/1960s, showing the James family's dysfunction in full swing. Her parents have a troubled, often violent, relationship, and neither parent is all that interested in their four children. There's something wrong with her father. Her older brother is accused of a terrible crime, and her grandmother is harboring a terrible family secret from long ago.
I thought the pacing was slow, especially in the years after Tallulah left Mississippi, though I see how that time was used for her to discover who she was, and if her parents' issues affected her. Even with the many aspects in this book, everything fit together to make the James' story complete, though I was hoping for a bit more resolution with certain elements.
Disclosure: I received a copy of the book from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
There are times when a book reaches out, grabs your heart and doesn’t let it go. The Myth of Perpetual Summer is that book!
Susan Crandall, author of the best-selling novel Whistling Past the Graveyard, captures the very essence of southern literature in her new tale, The Myth of Perpetual Summer. Tallulah James – how typically southern is that name – was the glue that held her crumbling and decaying family together. Raised primarily by her grandmother, her parents a very dysfunctional pair who couldn’t be bothered with their kids, Tallulah attempts to shield her siblings, and the town, from the very worst of the secrets being kept inside her family’s home. When she has had enough and is at her breaking point, Tallulah flees her small Mississippi town, going as far west as she is able – California -where she desperately tries to re-create herself and bury her past. But the past won’t let her go. Her youngest brother has been charged with murder and Tallulah knows that she has to return “home” to help him.
Although Crandall has lived her entire life in Indiana, she very clearly has a feel for the southern way of life. The heartache and heartbreak that covers the south like a dusty, ever present film, is vividly portrayed in The Myth of Perpetual Summer. Having grown up in a small town in Arkansas, every word on these pages felt like home to me. These were people that I knew, these were my neighbors, my own family, my friends. The south, particularly the “deep south,” has a way of keeping secrets, burying them deep, only to bring them to light when you least expect or want to see them. Crandall understands this and gives words to the feelings of being trapped, judged, and lonely in a room full of people or in small town where all eyes are on you.
The story covers a broad range of topics: the 60s, war, religion, cults and, ultimately, family secrets. The lengths that families will go to in order to protect their “name,” their reputation is the at the very core of this novel. It is those secrets that have torn this family apart. Crandall’s writing examines the question that far too many families must ask themselves – are the secrets and lies more important than being healthy and whole?
This is a beautifully written, woeful tale that will break your heart and leave you shattered but it also is a book about hope, families and the bonds that tie them together.
Thank you to Goodreads Giveaway and @SusanCrandall for my copy of this fascinating book. A fun note – Susan Crandall lives in the next town over from mine here in Indiana and I am huge of this fellow Hoosier’s work.
Great writing and interesting characters combine for a complex and moving coming-of-age story.
SUMMARY Tullulah James would be lost if it were not for her old older brother, Griff, and her Southern grandmother. Her parents are volatile and erratic and are rarely even home. Tallulah has taken personal responsibility for shielding the family‘s reputation and for raising her younger twin siblings.
Following a family death and abandonment Tullulah sets out alone for a new life in California. But her dysfunctional childhood makes it difficult for her to develop close relationships. When disaster strikes her family once again, she must return home to pick up the pieces and is finally able to uncover long held family secrets.
REVIEW This is Tullulah’s coming of age story and is set in Mississippi in the tumultuous 1960s. Tullulah narrates the complicated story and her character is both brave, and vulnerable. She tries so hard to make the family right, and you so want her to succeed. My favorite part of the story was when she takes her grandmother’s boat downriver river to gather mayhaws to make jelly for a mother’s day gift, but gets in over her head when a storm approaches.
I��m not really sure what the “myth of perpetual summer” is, but the book is a satisfying read despite a slow start. It’s a emotional story of a once prominent family that is burdened with the blood of mental illness and its’ declining reputation in the community. THE MYTH OF PERPETUAL SUMMER addresses a wide array of additional topics including murder, suicide, cults and bullying, There is a diverse cast of interesting characters, but my favorite was the blue-eyed Ross, who is from New Orleans and is a modern day knight in shining armor for the James family.
Susan Crandall is a critically acclaimed author of women’s fiction, romance suspense. She has written several award winning novels including Back Roads (2003) and Whistling Past the Graveyard (2014). Thanks to Netgalley for an advance reading copy of The Myth of Perpetual Summer in exchange for an honest review. Publisher Gallery Books Publication June 19, 2018
Thank you so much Gallery Books for providing my free copy of THE MYTH OF PERPETUAL SUMMER by Susan Crandall - all opinions are my own.
This is such a lovely book and Susan Crandall is a master storyteller. Set in the backdrop of Mississippi during the 1960s civil rights movement, the story centers around Tallulah James and her dysfunctional family. Tallulah returns home after seven years because her younger brother is accused of murder. Although her older brother and her grandmother were her steadfast support, she had a very unstable and tumultuous childhood as her parent’s relationship was volatile and her father suffered from mental illness. So Tallulah left all those years ago to escape her past and reinvent herself in California. The story is a very realistic, emotional, and accurate portrayal of a family going through extreme turmoil with an exquisitely written protagonist.
I loved every single thing about this book. The story is told from Tallulah’s perspective alternating seamlessly between her childhood and the present day. I adored Tallulah’s character as I found her to be complex, emotive, and real. The most interesting aspect of this story is the flawless and brilliant way Crandall writes the different reactions of all the siblings to their erratic childhoods. All of the characters were written with amazing depth and the story’s setting is vivid and descriptive. THE MYTH OF PERPETUAL SUMMER is essentially a coming-of-age story about a woman who was not able to deal with her adverse childhood in a family she cares for and loves. I cannot recommend this book enough.
“I stare at the house for a few minutes, even now surprised I’m standing here, a place I thought I’d never see again. It causes a strange sense of vertigo, this collision of long-ago and now of childhood pain and adult understanding, of the unchangeable past and the possibilities of the future.” My favorite quote in The Myth of Perpetual Summer
This story tugged at my heart. Tallulah James, a precocious and thoughtful 13-year old girl grew up way too fast due to her selfish and largely absent parents’ behavior. The repercussions of her traumatic childhood bleed into later years when we meet Tallulah now living in California and estranged from her family. When she learns of a brother’s incarceration, she reluctantly heads back to her old home in Mississippi and old feelings of a dysfunctional past bubble to the surface. Will she ever find peace?
I loved the story being told from Tallulah’s viewpoint. She was a complex and wonderfully human character who tries to accept her weaknesses and reconcile with her past. I did get a bit frustrated at times regarding her constant second-guessing though. She could be her own worst enemy.
A character that really stood out for me was Ross. Ross, Ross, Ross - I loved you, I wanted you for my own. There wasn’t a more perfect caring boy who would grow into a perfectly well-baked caring man. Great story by Susan Crandall.
I won this book through a BookishFirst giveaway. Thank you!
Sadly, I'm going to sit this one aside for now and maybe try again at another time. I don't read a lot of historical fiction and when I do they are usually in the gothic haunted mansion variety. The pacing of this one is much slower than what I'm used to and I keep finding myself distracted every time I pick this up.
I will say the writing itself is exceptional. It's no wonder that Susan Crandall has achieved the success that she has.
I need to rate this for BookishFirst even though I normally would never rate a DNF. I'm going with 3 stars because of the wonderful writing. As with all my DNF books it will not be included in my book challenge total.
5 ☆ I absolutely loved The Myth of Perpetual Summer, is one of my favorites this year! ❤️ A tender Southern coming-of-age story set in the 1960-70’s about Tallulah James’ dysfunctional family with past secrets that have plagued the James family since before her birth. Following several deaths and her brothers fiasco with local shady law enforcement she flees from the only home she’s ever known to California. Years later after arriving back home for her younger brothers trial, secrets come to light bringing ALL truths to the surface. I adored Tallulah and felt much compassion for her. This novel is very raw and real touching on all your emotions. Cannot recommend it enough.
“My parents loved so wildly, they destroyed each other. My father was a tormented man. My brother betrayed my trust. My mother is a self-centered hypocrite. My grandmother has secrets so dark she’d lose me rather than reveal them.”
I loved Whistling past the Graveyard and since then have read my fair share of Southern coming of age novels. So, although the first half was nice it was nothing exceptional. I was wondering if I had finally reached my threshold of Southern coming of age novels.
However, once I got to the ½ way mark the story finally gripped me the way it should.
Tallulah James made the decision at 16 to leave her home and all its traumas to forge a life for herself. Now the past comes back to haunt her when she finds out her younger brother has been arrested for murder. The story is told in 2 timelines and both worked equally well although I must admit I liked Tallulah as a child a little more than as an adult.
It’s a book that contains everything you would expect about the South. Racial tension, southern charm, sit-ins and protests. But the story also contains the impact of mental illness, the destruction a parent, who never should have had children, can sow and the roots of family and friendship.
I won this ARC in a BookishFirst.com giveaway and am thrilled to share my thoughts on this soon-to-be-released novel.
First of all, how can you not fall in love with a girl named Tallulah from Mississippi? We meet her as a young woman who has just discovered that her baby brother is on trial for murder. Reminiscent of "Ordinary Grace", we watch Lulie deal with family secrets and current crises with timelines beginning in 1958 and in her present (1972). We see the cast of the novel deal with current events like civil rights, the Kennedy assassination, Vietnam and Charles Manson. Lulie feels destined to fix her family's problems and spends many hours in her childhood casting her worries into the river behind their house. Will she find someone who can help her deal with those problems in real time? Read the book and discover the story of Tallulah James.
Tallulah knows that there is something not right about her family. Her Father (Drayton) has episodes of “hurricanes” and “shadows.” He is bipolar but not much is known about the illness and how to treat it in1958.
Hurricanes describe his manic phases, when he is very energized, doesn’t sleep for days and his brain races with ideas. He also can be, paranoid, obsessive and impulsively buys things they can’t afford and don’t need.
In contrast, Shadows are the depressive phases when Drayton is feeling tormented, in agony, despondent and hopeless. Tallulah describes the shadow phase as “...the worst mood of them all” and also concedes that “he isn’t just moody, but broken.”
“His behavior. Hummingbird or slug. So full of energy you can’t scrape him off the ceiling, or buried in anguish so deep he won’t get out of bed.”
Talullah’s Mother has her children call her Margo. She hardly acts like a mother — instead, Margo is devoted to supporting causes like freedom for Algeria. Sometimes she abandons her family for months, which sends Drayton into shadow time. Tallulah can’t understand why Algeria is more important to Margo than her children.
“Griff says you can get used to a sharp stick in the eye if it’s there long enough. But I can’t get used to Margo not being around at all. I know it’s stupid to miss her, because she wasn’t home much and didn’t hardly do anything for us anyway.”
As a young child, Tallulah engages in wishful thinking, preferring to think that Margo’s devotion to these causes is a temporary phase which will pass. She is in denial of who her Mother is and has a fantasized vision of her transforming into the ideal mother. Tallulah dreams of Margo loving her, seeing her and genuinely caring about her.
“Someday the French will get out of Algeria and Margo can stop protesting and just be our Momma again.”
“I keep looking at the doorway, hoping Margo will come back, give me a big hug, tell me how much she missed me and promise never to leave for so long again. But the doorway stays empty.”
“If I can show Margo how much I need her, maybe she’ll not only stay home but she’ll also actually start seeing me.”
On the rare occasions when Margo is home and Drayton is “normal” (not in a hurricane or shadow time), they argue, fight and sometimes throw things. It is far from a peaceful household. In describing her chaotic household, Tallulah says “...there is no hand on the rudder of our family.”
“Truth be, Daddy and Margo can have some real window rattlers.”
She relies on two characters for support, her grandmother and her older brother Griff. Gran seems to be the glue that holds this family together. Her brother comforts her and guides her through the land mines that are her family. Tallulah and Griff both worry that they will become like their mother or father.
Tallulah dreams of escaping her dysfunctional family and being in control of her own life. She lives her life in the hope of experiencing that freedom. In a sense she lives in the future but her past haunts her.
She questions the role of family and wonders if it’s to choke or to bind. As a child, Tallulah just wants to escape from her family and never look back. But she wonders if family can be a positive influence and play an important role in her life.
I greatly enjoyed reading “The Myth of Perpetual Summer” and highly recommend it. It’s a coming-of-age story as well as a search for self. Tallulah, both as a child and an adult, is a strong and compelling character. I found her to be very likable and felt I really got to know her through these pages. Her inner dialogue is extremely revealing as she tries to cope with her family and the world. She contemplates issues of abandonment and isolation. As a child, Tallulah engages in wishful, magical thinking as a coping mechanism.
The story alternates between Tallulah’s childhood (1958-1960s) and present day (1972-1974) in a seamless way. The writing is excellent and the story pulls you in, not letting go until the last page. I particularly appreciated Susan Crandall’s style of writing and her colorful, descriptive language:
“Granny told her to get down off her high horse before she got a nosebleed. In a polite voice, of course.”
“Dharma never hid when our parents fought, she made her own closet inside her head.”
“I feel better already, just being out of our house. Sometimes it feels so heavy I’m surprised it doesn’t collapse on us while we’re sleeping.”
Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery Books for an Advanced Reader Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Susan Crandall's latest novel is a coming of age story set in the sixties, following the James family through small town gossip and dangerous accusations. Tallulah James's parents have a passionate but unpredictable relationship that often takes precedence over their children. Her father suffers from erratic behavior and whispers around town suggests he inherited this trait from his uncle George who disappeared years ago and has since been erased from the family. Her mother's parenting could be construed as raising "free range" children but her obvious lack of apathy leaves Tallulah responsible for her younger siblings, twins Dharma and Walden. The only stability in her life seems to come from her grandmother and older brother Griffin.
When Griffin is accused of a violent crime, the family begins to crumble under the weight of rumors and soon another tragedy breaks the tenuous bond that held them together.
Tallulah leaves behind the wake of tragedy in Lamoyne, Mississippi for sunny California and its myth of perpetual summer. The emotional scars from her parent's dysfunctional relationship carries in to her own relationships in the years that she's gone but she manages to create a life for herself without any contact with her family who has no idea where she is.
Several years after she left them behind, she's called home when younger brother Walden is accused of murder. After arriving back in Lamoyne, Tallulah realizes the lives she imagined for the people she left behind didn't follow the courses she expected. She relies on her brother Griffin's best friend Ross to fill in the parts of the story she's missed in an attempt to figure out what has gone wrong and to save Walden from a certain fate in a culture still reeling from the Manson cult.
The Myth of Perpetual Summer is the tale of a young woman carrying a burden of memories of her dysfunctional family and the mental illness that was never allowed to be discussed or confronted. Major events of the time, including civil rights most notably, provide an undercurrent of emotion and affect Tallulah in several ways throughout the novel.
Thanks to Gallery Books and NetGalley for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for my honest review. The Myth of Perpetual Summer is scheduled for release on June 19, 2018.
The Myth of Perpetual Summer is a fantastic southern fiction novel that rivals my all-time favorites like Necessary Lies, The Secret Life of Bees, and I can even see it being close to my love for The Help. The author truly takes her readers to 1960's Mississippi with her eloquent words and descriptive settings. It really felt like I was right there with the main character, Tullulah, as she grew up under very dysfunctional and heartbreaking circumstances that ended up shaping how she and her siblings experienced life. Everything from mental illness, abandonment, family secrets, civil rights issues and small town politics are wrapped up into this novel. My only complaint about it is that I wanted to keep reading when the last page was turned. 4.5/5🌟
“My parents loved so wildly, they destroyed each other. My father was a tormented man. My brother betrayed my trust. My mother is a self-centered hypocrite. My grandmother has secrets so dark she’d lose me than reveal them. I’m afraid if I love you, you’ll destroy me.”
A coming-of-age tale reminiscent of Glass Castle. Set in Mississippi during the 60s, this book deals with mental illness, the civil rights movement, and dysfunctional family life.
Tallulah returns home after seven years, when her young brother is accused of a crime. She ran away years ago with hopes of forgetting her stormy past but now it’s time to forgive and make peace with it all.
This is the perfect southern summer read for those wanting a beautifully crafted story with heart and soul. Grab a tall glass of sweet tea and this book on June 19th!
I started out really, really liking this book. The writing was completely on top of it's game and the story was very compelling. But it felt like the last quarter of the book was rushed and maybe not that well thought out, or maybe there just wasn't much there to work with? So what started out with a bang for me, ended with a bit of a fizz. Many thanks to the publisher for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
1. I tried so hard to love this one. It was not meant to be. The pacing of this novel was inconsistent, the plot was loaded with everything but the kitchen sink & most of the characters were icky. BUT, I plodded my way through it because it is undeniable that Susan Crandall writes beautifully.
2. I simply devoured her former book, Whistling Past the Graveyard. Read that one without hesitation. However, I AM NOT GIVING UP ON THIS AUTHOR! Her potential is limitless.
Absolutely loved this book. It had a mystery throughout that kept you wondering what in the world had happened and why the main character's life was falling apart. Susan Crandall has become one of my favorite authors and I love how she develops the story and characters so beautifully they hang out with you after you've finished the book. Great fiction read!
I was drawn into this story from the very first chapters!
Tallulah James kneels in front of her TV and sees a mug shot. The mug shot of her brother that she has not seen in several years. They say he is a killer, but she just can’t believe that would be true. Tallulah drops everything and takes emergency time off from work and returns home. She is heading back to Lamoyne, Mississippi, the town she was born and raised in. It has been nine years since she has stepped foot in Lamoyne. It is a town and time that she would just prefer to forget, but she can’t, her brother needs her. That’s it, I’m sold!
This is a coming-of-age story told from the perspective of Tallulah in dual time periods, 1972 and 1950’s/60’s. She has one older brother Griff and twin younger siblings Walden and Dharma. Their parents had a very hands-off approach in raising children. They wanted them to find their own boundaries and learn from experience. Generally speaking this is not an ideal way to raise children. To make matters worse, there were deeply hidden family secrets that Tallulah wanted to understand. Why did the town people whisper about her family? She researched and asked questions, but the secrets remained buried.
My heart went out to Tallulah. She was essentially mom and dad to her siblings. I could actually relate to her on some level. She was the fixer, she thought if she could just pick up the mess her parents created or do something special it would make everything OK. She put a lot of pressure on herself, but lacked the understanding of why things were the way they were. She alone could not fix it!
I enjoyed reading the present day (1972) storyline to find out what happened to the Jones family. I felt like I was with Tallulah on her journey back home and hoped that her brothers and sister would come out stronger on the other side after a less than stellar upbringing.
This book is a beautifully written story! It is an emotional journey through the past in hope of a better future!
*Thank you NetGalley, Gallery Books, and Susan Crandall for the opportunity to read and review this book for my honest opinion.
Thank you to Gallery books for providing me with a free copy of The Myth of Perpetual Summer in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
This. Book. Was. So. Good! I literally hugged this book when I turn the last page. This is going to be a full out gushy review because I have not one bad thing to say about this book.
When I think about why I like to read, the only important thing that comes to mind is: love of a good story. I love to be told a good story or read a good story. The Myth of Perpetual Summer was such a wonderful story about people, family, life, and fighting through the challenges that come our way and coming out on the other side not unscathed, but smarter and stronger than before.
Crandall has written a dysfunctional family in such a realistic way that as the reader you feel such strong emotions about the things they do to each other. I felt so angry at Tallulah‘s feckless parents and wanted to swoop in and rescue her and her siblings. The family in this novel also got me thinking about the whole nature versus nurture argument. In this book and in real life I do find that people under the same circumstances can react to them in a different way. Tallulah and each of her siblings handled their very unconventional childhood in very different ways.
The setting in this novel was also stunning: summer in Mississippi in the 1960’s, with old fashioned ways and life on a pecan plantation. Basically this was the perfect summer read and I really just couldn’t get enough of it. I am sad that it’s over. This book is easily the best book I’ve read so far in 2018. I easily give this book ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 stars!
*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*
The Myth of Perpetual Summer is a coming of age story rife with trauma and tragedy while focusing on the bonds of family and how much it means to have a core group supporting you no matter what.
The novel has dual-narration, with one part focusing on Tallulah growing up, and then the other part focusing on present-day, when she’s returning home. While I liked this style overall, I wish some of the characters that were introduced present-day could have waited to show up until they were introduced in the past, since Tallulah’s history with them gave them so much more importance, which is completely missed when you don’t really know who they are.
Tallulah is a compelling character and I enjoyed this story on the whole. While the plot itself seemed to meander at times, I found enough to keep me interested. Crandall kept a nice balance between showing traumatic moments and regular growing-up moments that everyone is sure to relate to. The moments that shone the most for me was when Tallulah had to stop relying on her brother and decided to take her life into her own hands; this meant that she had to learn what it was to have a job and pay her own way, and I liked those moments where she realized she had a lot of freedom, but also, a lot of responsibility for herself.
What was most interesting about Tallulah’s return to her hometown is her having to deal with the guilt of her past mistakes, and wondering how life could have been different/better for her siblings if she had made different choices. I think any adult can relate to that sort of feeling of “what if,” and wishing mistakes hadn’t been made. Throughout the revelations of Tallulah’s family secrets, this theme of guilt for past mistakes comes up a lot and brings the characters together in mutually understanding that feeling. I could have done without a couple of the resolutions, since some of those felt forced and too “tie-this-up-with-a-pretty-bow,” but that’s just a personal preference.
Overall, I thought this was an enjoyable read. Lots of intrigue and drama mixed with sweet moments that shows how we learn from our mistakes and become the people we are.
I've so enjoyed reading Susan Crandall's previous novels and The Myth of Perpetual Summer was no exception. The characters are so real and well developed. I get completely caught up in their stories and think about them long after the novel ends.
Tallulah James has left her Mississippi roots long behind when she receives disastrous news about her brother that calls her to come to his rescue. As soon as she arrives back, she is bombarded with memories from her difficult childhood but she also brings a new perspective. The Myth of Perpetual Summer is a story of a young girl struggling to find her place in the world amidst family secrets, family bonds, and small town prejudice, all against the backdrop of the civil rights movement.
I can't say enough about the way Susan Crandall tells a story. Her characters are simply spot on and stay with me long after I've read the last page. This was a five star read for me.
I received this book courtesy of Gallery Books though NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Oh, this book! I'm trying to steer away from all the cliche words, but they are what comes to mind: compelling, powerful, thought-provoking, enthralling, beautiful.
The writing is exceptional. Susan Crandall doesn't overload us with words in order to pad the pages with unnecessary filler. There wasn't a paragraph I wanted to skim or even one word I wanted to skip. Crandall gives us exactly the right words to elicit emotion, offer insight, and paint a portrait. This is the kind of book I call immersive. Sometimes I'd look up after reading for a while and I'd be surprised to find myself in my own modern world.
I want to say so much about the content of the story, but I don't want to spoil even the smallest thing. Some difficult topics are explored here, including racism and mental illness, yet the story never feels scattered or disjointed. All the pieces fit perfectly together.
This story is memorable and will absolutely stand out as one of my favorites for the year.
*I received a copy of this book from Bookish First.*
* Thank you Gallery Books & BookishFirst for my free review copy. *
Tallulah James' childhood is not stable - her parent's relationship is volatile, their behavior is erratic, and their approach to raising their children is very hands-off. Her constants in her life are her older brother and her grandmother. After a life-changing event occurs in their family, Tallulah heads out to California and recreates herself. Seven years later she returns home when her younger brother is accused of murder, and also faces the tragedy that broke the family apart.
This book was heartbreaking in so many ways. It was hard to read about Tallulah and her siblings' childhood and the experiences they went through. I was amazed at how quick Tallulah's grandmother was to explain away her son's (Tallulah's father) behavior which to me was obviously Bipolar Disorder. Her mother's behavior was incredibly frustrating - I just wanted to knock some sense into her.
As someone who understands the impact of trauma on a child - it was interesting to see how Crandall wrote each child as dealing with their childhoods in such a drastically different way. They did what they had to protect themselves.
This book was beautifully written, going into lovely details of the South in the late 50s and early 60s. It was an engaging and emotional journey of a family holding onto a variety of secrets. Pick this one up if you love stories about the South and dysfunctional families.
I enjoy nothing more than a good book about the south and this was one of those books. It was about a dysfunctional family in the 60s in Mississippi. There was a little mystery, a little romance and wonderful characters to love so it was a perfect book to curl up with on a long summer evening.
Tallulah left home at 16 to try to find a more stable life. She hitchhiked to California to start over and never let anyone at home know where she was. When she heard that her brother was in jail for murder, she immediately returned to Mississippi to try to help him. What she finds after 9 years away is that her family is torn apart and the town is still holding a grudge against them. The story is told in two time periods - during Tallulah's growing up years, when her parents basically ignored their children and left them to take care of themselves, to her grown up years when she tries to find out the real truth about her family and how the secrets and lies destroyed her family.
This was a wonderful book about family and the secrets that keep them apart. It asks the question whether love can stop the destruction of the family and bring them all together again.
Thanks to Bookish Firsts for a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own.
Tallulah James has come home to Mississippi after a long absence and estrangement from her family. The family she has struggled to understand throughout her young life is facing another crisis and it is left to Lulie to help pick up the pieces. During her trip home Lulie reflects on her past as a young teenage girl growing up on a pecan grove in rural Mississippi in the 60s. She is the 2nd of four kids in a dysfunctional home where her mother was constantly gone and her father was battling emotional issues. Her parent's relationship was tumultuous. Lulie's lone source of stability has been her grandmother who holds to southern manners and rules. Granny James, however, is holding some family secrets that could explain her father's erratic behavior and her broken family.
This is another coming of age story by Susan Crandall who wrote Whistling Past the Graveyard. It holds up against Crandall's earlier works but is much darker. Its overall message seems to be to resolve the burdens of the past so that they don't carry emotional weight throughout life. It is not my favorite of Crandall's books that I have read so far but was still worth the read.