The Summer We Got Freeby Mia McKenzie
At one time a wild young girl and a brilliant artist, Ava Delaney changes dramatically after a violent event that rocks her entire family. Once loved and respected in their community and in their church, they are ostracized by their neighbors, led by their church leader, and a seventeen-year feud between the Delaneys and the church ensues. Ava and her family are displaced from the community even as they continue to live within it, trapped inside their creaky, shadowy old house. When a mysterious woman arrives unexpectedly for a visit, her presence stirs up the past and ghosts and other restless things begin to emerge. And something is reignited in Ava: the indifferent woman she has become begins to give way to the wild girl, and the passionate artist, she used to be. But not without a struggle that threatens her well-being and, ultimately, her life.
Winner of the 2013 Lambda Literary Award for Debut Fiction.
- BGD Press, Inc.
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- New Edition
- Sales rank:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)
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Great book! The first night I picked it up, I had to force myself to put it down and go to bed. Wonderful first book!
The Summer We Got Free is an exceptional novel. It's that rare book that sparkles in my hands, and almost makes me late for work because reading the next sentence is more important than getting off at the right subway stop. Mia McKenzie’s language is lyrical, musical, precise, and richly layered with a multitude of colors and textures, yet light and flowing and easy to follow. Her characters sing from the page, and their voices are so human, so vulnerable, that it’s as if they are old friends revealing the truths of their lives in an intimate café. Ava Delaney in particular is a beautifully, subtly detailed character; I had a hard time saying goodbye to her when I was on the last page. I love the novel’s queerness, both in its content and style. McKenzie weaves her character’s stories together in a masterful knot, and then releases it with a magical touch that leaves us breathless, amazed, and free. Read this book!
Very well done! I'm sure everyone can relate to the themes of expectations, family, spirituality, fear and how all of these things shape your life. Loved the way the author displayed how people struggle to just be their most authentic self. Highly recommend. Can't wait to read more of her work in the future.
Mia McKenzie’s The Summer We Got Free answers Toni Cade Bambara’s question “do you want to be well?” with it’s own. Do you remember what I was like when I was? The novel won’t let you go as it surges forward with truth only fiction can tell. I was eager for answers as I followed a trail of not bread crumbs but whole pieces of toast slathered in butter that makes you moan or as I did, read passages aloud and neglect sleep for want of the next savory morsel. The Summer We Got Free is the product of a girl child grown up in the stories of June, Alice, Zora, Pearl, Gloria, and even Octavia, told in palimpsestic time where McKenzie’s own life doesn’t overlap with her characters but it doesn’t even matter. Ava is the black girl who reminds us that we are the ones we’ve been waiting for, to the delight of some and the displeasure of others. McKenzie’s masterful weaving of narrative belies an inaugural effort yet it is clearly an afrofuturistic vision of healing transformation and an affirmation that we have what we need. The text is saturated with an effortless queerity and a brush of magical realism that show what’s possible when you focus off center. I’ll be thrusting this into the hands of everyone I know as I return to it myself to remember I can get free again.
An amazing read! It's been years since I last enjoyed a novel as engaging and wonderfully written as The Summer We Got Free. Mia McKenzie does a masterful job of weaving a story that is at once haunting and life-affirming, suspenseful and soulful. Now I am reading it again for the second time in a week, and find myself just as captivated as I was the first time (despite knowing how the tale turns out). Five Stars!!