The Myth of Perpetual Summer

The Myth of Perpetual Summer

by Susan Crandall

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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 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501172014
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication date: 06/19/2018
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 174,157
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Susan Crandall is a critically acclaimed author of women’s fiction, romance, and suspense. She has written several award-winning novels including her first book, Back Roads, which won the RITA award for best first book, as well as Whistling Past the Graveyard, which won the SIBA 2014 Book Award for Fiction. Susan lives in Noblesville, Indiana, with her family.

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Myth of Perpetual Summer includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book

Introduction

When Tallulah James returns to her Mississippi hometown in 1972 after a seven-year absence, determined to help her brother escape a murder conviction, she hopes to avoid the small-town gossip mill and return to California as quickly as possible. But as Tallulah reconnects with her dysfunctional family, she becomes entangled in a web of long-held secrets about their history of mental illness, her tumultuous upbringing, and a terrible tragedy that nearly tore the family apart. Ultimately, the truth forces Tallulah to reckon with her past—and find a way forward.

Topics and Questions for Discussion

1. Why do you think Susan Crandall opens the novel with Walden’s arrest before revealing Tallulah’s backstory? How did your impression of Tallulah and her family evolve as the flashbacks unfolded?

2. In what ways are the Jameses a product of time and place? How would the novel be different in another setting?

3. Crandall depicts Margo’s activism in stark contrast to her selfishness as a mother. Why do you think Margo is outraged by social injustice but blind to the needs of her children? What fuels her outrage?

4. Does The Myth of Perpetual Summer reinforce or challenge any preconceptions you had about the 1960s South?

5. Discuss how the different characters perceive racial discrimination and the Civil Rights Movement. What do their various experiences and responses to racism say about them?

6. While Tallulah envies the stability of Ross’s family, she understands that their expectations for him are stifling in their own way. Which would you prefer? Ultimately, is Tallulah’s family her millstone or salvation?

7. How are the James children defined by their parents’ actions? Discuss how each of the siblings emulate and/or resist Margo’s and Drayton’s behavior.

8. Discuss how Tallulah’s childhood point of view shaped your impression of Drayton’s behavior in the flashback chapters. How did your understanding of his mental illness shift over the course of the novel?

9. Drayton tells Tallulah that history is like “dominoes set in motion on one era toppling those in the next” (pg. 72). How does this theory bear out for the James family? What does it take for Tallulah to break from the past and gain agency over her own life?

10. “Gran says family traditions are what give meaning to life,” Crandall writes (pg. 304). “But that’s not it. The family itself, if we accept it for what it is and not condemn it for what it is not, can be the fiber that weaves a rope that pulls us out of ourselves, and into a world where we’re willing to take an emotional risk.” Discuss the distinction here between tradition and family. How does the latter empower Tallulah to come out of her shell?

11. Why do you think the “ugly parts” of the James family’s history bring some of the siblings together and drive others apart?

12. Toward the end of the novel, Gran characterizes the cover-up of George’s death as “a lie of convenience that was meant to spare pain, not cause it” (pg. 316). What do you make of Gran’s obsession with keeping up appearances? Do you see her commitment to upholding the family legacy as shortsighted and harmful or practical?

13. Gran tells Tallulah that “hurt and anger make a strong person brave and a weak person broken” (pg. 317). Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not?

14. Discuss the ending of the novel. Were you surprised that Tallulah returns to Lamoyne? How is she able to make the family plantation a happy home despite her painful memories?

15. What do you make of the title? Did your perception of the “myth of perpetual summer” change over the course of the novel?

Enhance Your Book Club

1. Host a Southern-style brunch for your book club discussion. Don’t forget the mint juleps and the pecan pie!

2. Read up on the Civil Rights Movement and discuss how your learnings inform the historical backdrop in The Myth of Perpetual Summer.

3. Cast your film version of The Myth of Perpetual Summer. Which actors would you want to play the main characters, and why?

4. Read one of Susan Crandall’s other historical novels (http://susancrandall.net/susan-crandalls-booklist). Discuss which is your favorite, and why.

5. Learn more about Susan Crandall by checking out http://susancrandall.net/ or following her on Twitter @susancrandall.

Customer Reviews

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The Myth of Perpetual Summer 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
J-M-Powers_Author More than 1 year ago
I was captured by every aspect of this book, from the Civil Rights Era, to the 1970s, and beyond. Tallulah James, is a child of constant emotional upheaval due to a Bi-Polar father and emotionally absent mother. She somehow finds a way to navigate through this turbulent time in her life. The close relationship with her older brother, Griff, is sweet and trusting, and her motherly ways with her younger siblings is heartbreaking. Tallulah’s childhood is lost as she takes over her mother’s role while she’s on one of her many “protest marches.” She later learns it’s simply an escape from home and the family life her mother seems to despise. Even when her mother is home, she’s negligent. Tallulah never loses hope that someday her mother would “see” her. She longs for typical parents like her friends have. Ones who are there when they come home from school, attend their games, take an interest in their goals, and lavishes love and attention on their children. This dual time period novel seamlessly depicts Tallulah’s life from childhood to adult, from heartbreak to recovery, from pulling away from one life and creating another. Then being pulled right back into what she ran away from the moment she was old enough to do so. I empathized with her through every choice she made, both good and bad. She learned from mistakes, and carried on. The lives of her siblings, and how each were affected by their upbringing are vastly varied. Which shows me that one can make their own future despite what their past involved.
iamree More than 1 year ago
There's something about Southern heat and tangled vines wrapped around trees that always seems to add an air of mystery to stories based in the American South. Add in a modern female protagonist who thinks she has created a successful new life for herself and left behind any problematic family issues or disdainful former neighbors, and you have this intriguing book by Susan Crandall. There is quite a bit of melancholy as Tallulah struggles with the need to return to her family home and the instability of family members. Later in the book it is not surprising when she says she made the decision long ago to not have children so that the madness would stop with her. From dealing with anonymous phone calls to her grandmother's home so someone can whisper, "Killers," to realizing it's a mythical promise of endless summers when she lives in coastal California, Lulie/ Taluulah will carry you along on her journey of self discovery. This book might also make readers cast a dubious eye on some of their own glorified or strangely missing family ancestry.
justforbooks123 10 months ago
I'd first like to say that this book was a bit out of my comfort zone. I'm not one to read a historical fiction without it having its fair bit of romance, nor am I a big fan of gothics. That being said, I found myself enjoying this book quite a lot. After a few somewhat slow chapters, I found myself being completely absorbed in Tallulah's story of family drama. I loved nearly everything about this book, though Tallulah was easily the best part of this novel. She was relatable, realistic, and resilient. She was far from perfect, but I couldn't help but admire her throughout this emotional roller-coaster of a novel. So, while this book definitely wasn't something I would normally read, I am happy to have read it and will definitely look into Crandall's past works. Fans of historical fiction will love this Southern family drama, as well as anyone looking for an intriguing fiction! 4/5
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wasn't enthralled by this novel. It was well written, well spoken but I just couldn't connect to it. The way the James' parents were detached from their kids, I felt detached from the characters, almost as if the author did so well at demonstrating how each kid learned to be well guarded, it was like they even kept the reader out. I find many novels lately using the back and forth approach, bouncing between past and present. This was used here but i didn't find it necessary or effective at all. The meat of the novel takes place in the past, it could've just been written in succession (instead of having to look back every time we were pulled back to the present to remind myself what was happening). Although Tallulah is the heroin of this novel, there were many rich themes brought up through almost every character- and yet I felt cheated out of them. Almost as if it was enough for the author to introduce them to you and that's it, her work was done. An awareness was brought up but no depth, no exploration of the many facets of these pertinent issues. By the time the reader is brought to the truths and resolutions it seemed trite and fell very flat. Very disappointing being that there was so much potential to be something great. It wasn't a bad read at all which is why I gave it 3 stars, it was just nothing I'd run to recommend.
SherreyM More than 1 year ago
The Myth of Perpetual Summer opens in the 1960s as Tallulah James experiences her second birth. The second birth we all experience when we reach that point in our lives described as coming of age. Tallulah reaches this experience earlier than most of us because of who she is. Not the oldest among her siblings, she is the one willing to take charge and to attempt to hold the James family together. Her parents are anything but traditional parents presenting to their children a volatile marital relationship, erratic behavior, and to the unbelieving residents of Tallulah’s staid Mississippi hometown a hands-off approach to their child-rearing. All these factors leave the children facing wagging tongues of other adults and rumors among classmates. Tallulah’s escape to the promised land of California after her brother is charged with murder turns out to be less than she dreamed of. It seems she cannot escape her childhood, and eventually, she returns to Mississippi where she learns of the hate and lies that are the foundation of her family history and source of so much hurt. If you read Susan Crandall’s Whistling Past the Graveyard, you know what an extraordinary writer she is. Once again, her character development, plot building, and ability to create scenes you feel you have walked into makes for another excellent read. I highly recommend The Myth of Perpetual Summer.
Librarian_V_Reader More than 1 year ago
Librarian: This novel falls into two major categories, historical fiction and literary fiction. Both are incredibly hard genres to judge from a collection development standpoint, as neither are among the most read in the library. Of the two, historical is the more read, and it's fans tend to be fairly devoted to it. That said they tend to have definite preferences i.e. historical romance, historical mystery. Historical literary fiction rarely falls into the preferred reading area of historical fiction readers. (I suspect this is because reading literary fiction is often thought of the same way many people think of exercise. Something we know is good for us, and we intend to do, but never get around to actually doing.) This can make collection development decision's difficult when it's literary fiction being discussed. One one hand, it's the sort of book we want to have in the collection. On the other hand it doesn't circulate that often, which makes it harder to justify buying. Luckily, in this case the decision is made easier, by being a truly stellar book, by an already well known author. Ordering this one for a historical fiction collection is practically a no brainer. Reader: I don't like literary fiction that well. Sure, at it's best it's got beautiful prose, and moving messages. But, let's be honest, most of the time it's little more than pretentious crap. Still I read it, hoping for that one in a million time when the book is everything the genre is supposed to be. This is not that one in a million time. However it does come close. The prose is gorgeous, and the plot is engaging enough to keep me reading. I still found a bit pretentious, and felt like it reveled a bit to much in its own cleverness, but it wasn't unreadably pretentious like this genre can occasionally be.
booklover6460 More than 1 year ago
This was a wonderful story of the coming of age, family secrets, trauma, relationships, racial prejudices, and corruption. While lots of heavy topics are covered, you are drawn into Tallulah James's life. She is surrounded by a very dysfunctional family but between her brother, Griff, and her grandmother she finds the emotional support she needs. At least until these fall away. (But you have to read the book in order to learn how this happens!) Set in a time of unrest...Vietnam War with its protest demonstrations and racial discrimination...life is unsettled. Then you realize how the bullying, ostracism, and child neglect affect Tallulah and her family. It is amazing how she has managed to become a functioning adult. The author does a great job of going back and forth from Tallulah's childhood and adulthood...especially since the book is written from her viewpoint. It is well written with the voice of Tallulah as a 10-year-old and that of her as a young adult. This young lady's life will haunt you even after you've finished the last page of this amazing story. I have read quite a few of Susan Crandall's books in the past (you absolutely MUST read Whistling Past the Graveyard) and this one did not disappoint. I love her style of writing and how she makes the characters like real people who are actually living the story she is telling. You care about them and ache for the unfairness of how life has treated them. I received a free copy of this book from Gallery Books in exchange for my honest opinion. This is definitely one for you put on your to-be-read list!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
1958- Tallulah James is a determined young girl struggling to grow up in the small town of Laymone, Mississippi. Family secrets along with an unstable and precarious family life complicate her youth as she attempts to determine her place in the James family legacy. Tallulah tries to hold her family together but when tragedy strikes once again, she turns her back on everything she knows to search for a new life in California. 1972- Tallulah is pulled home once again when her youngest brother Walden is accused of murder. Faced with the consequences her departure had on those she left behind, she must reexamine the truths of her past and what that means for her future. The Myth of Perpetual Summer is a fantastic coming of age story set primarily in the small town of Laymone Mississippi during the late 1950's -early 1960's. It follows a young teenage girl who forced to deal with the fallout of her family history in a town where everyone knows your business and holds on to grudges. As she attempts to grow into the proper young lady her grandmother expects the weight of her responsibilities weights on her during a time of volatile social climate. I knew I would enjoy this novel because I love historical Sothern literature but this novel exceeded my expectations. The writing was fantastic and the story line was heartwarming and powerful. A must read, one of the most enjoyable books I have had the pleasure of reading quite some time.
The_Reading_Ward More than 1 year ago
I’ve been reading Crandall since she hooked me with Whistling Past the Graveyard. The Perpetual Myth of Summer is just as wonderful. There is enough family drama in this story to fill a couple of novels. If you’re looking for remarkable southern fiction, you must read this.
Deb-Krenzer More than 1 year ago
Wow, what a crazy family in this book. I didn't know who to feel the sorriest for. Two older kids and a set of twins (boy and girl) with a mother who was never there. She was always out protesting (or was she?). And a father who was only sometimes there. I absolutely loved the whole book though. I smiled when I read the Pacific Ocean Park fortune. I was secretly hoping it was for Ross. A delightful read that had me mesmerized and entertained throughout. Thanks to Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
Angie0184 More than 1 year ago
Evocative. The Myth of Perpetual Summer drips with the sweat of a Mississippi summer, wrapped up in family mysteries and regrets, set against the backdrop of the late 60s, early 70s. Susan Crandall is a truly gifted storyteller, painting images with prose. A murder draws Tallulah back to her childhood home in the South to deal with the secrets that drove her to progressive California to begin with; to beg for help after years of no communication for a brother of which she still feels great responsibility. A dual storyline pulls us from Tallulah's past and the lead up to her escape to California, to the present day and her return to Lamoyne. The book didn't deal with her brother Walden's trial as much as I thought it would, it was much more focused on Tallulah and the James family history, including a time period that treated mental illness like an embarrassment instead of the medical diagnosis it is. Steeped in the oppression of the South, and hiding family secrets at the cost of everything, this book is on my list of all time favorites!
rendezvous_with_reading More than 1 year ago
Thank you to @Netgalley for this free copy to review #partner Tallulah James is dealing with her far more weight on her shoulders than a young girl should. Her parent's relationship is explosive and she and her 3 siblings struggle with the constant fallout. Their mother is cold and distant and their father is in a world of his own. The four James children are left to raise themselves aside from the guidance of their old fashioned grandmother who is harboring some family skeletons and secrets of her own. Once highly respected, now all this dysfunction makes the family a source of gossip in their small Mississippi town in the 1960s. When things come to a tragic climax, Tallulah, weary of trying to hold her family together, takes off for California and hopefully a life where no one knows the family's shame. A real page turner, I powered through this book in a weekend. Tallulah was very loveable and you could totally cringe along with her at the family's dysfunction. And it's an interesting look at how undigagnosed and untreated mental illness could have repercussions on a family for generations. This is my third Susan Crandall novel, and she never fails to draw me in with her relatable characters and satisfying plots.
Nurse98 More than 1 year ago
Historical Fiction set in the south is one of my guilty pleasures and this one did not disappoint. Tallulah is a precocious young girl who doesn't understand the racism of her world, why her mother doesn't want to be a mother, her father's hurricanes and shadows, or why her beloved older brother is pulling away. Alternating between young Tallulah and 20 something Tallulah we get to see how her family is torn apart and how she escapes. Along the way we get our hearts broken right along with her time and time again. We root for her, we sympathize with her when she sabotages a relationship because she is afraid of emotions, and we cheer and fall in love with her all over again when she finally goes home and allows herself to start the slow process of healing. We hold our breath when she goes to visit Walden and feel for her when the depth of his brainwashing is revealed. We hold our breath when she makes the phone call to Dharma and grit our teeth in anger. We hold our breath with her when she finally hears from Griff and again when she sees him for the first time in a decade. The writing is beautiful, the setting's are well fleshed out so you feel like you can really see what they see. The characters are all flawed and it was interesting to see how all four kids reacted to and dealt with their parents fights and the deterioration of the family. Thank you to the publishers for my copy of this book. A beautifully sad story.
Cinemabelle More than 1 year ago
Tennessee Williams meets Anne Tyler in award-winning novelist Susan Crandall's gorgeously penned family opus. Centered on the oldest daughter of a unique Mississippi family, The Myth of Perpetual Summer is certain to appeal to book clubs. Moving back and forth in time between 1972 and the late 1950s and early '60s, after she learns that her younger brother has been arrested for murder in a crime that's captured national attention, Tallulah James leaves the California home she's made for herself and returns back to her southern hometown where every corner holds dozens of memories. Wondering where it all went wrong, after she finds unexpected help for her brother's case from an old crush and family friend, Ross Saenger, Tallulah begins seeking out answers for the many mysteries of the past including the truth about her brilliant but unstable father's family tree as well as her parents' turbulent relationship. After beginning with quite the plot hook, the pace slows down considerably with Myth requiring a good eighty or so pages to establish both its characters and momentum to the point that it's hard to put down. Having drawn comparisons to both The Secret Life of Bees and Forrest Gump, Crandall's Myth is also reminiscent of Mary Karr's memoirs. But while Myth eventually leads a majority of its characters to well earned conclusions, it's still slightly disappointing to see how quickly the author wraps up certain plot points. In fact, it's a main source of trouble for the otherwise moving last hundred pages of the novel. And nowhere is Crandall's difficulty in judging her reader's interest better epitomized than her decision to spend far more time on a romantic backstory with Tallulah and a character who appears out of thin air (whom we could care less about) than the one that Crandall built for nearly the entire length of the novel that pays off in two pages. Though limited by the decision to present us with only one character's point-of-view, while the romantic plotline was in great need of either more obstacles or reflection, so were other characters throughout, including the one that's sure to be a reader favorite in the form of Tallulah's protective older brother, Griff. A major protagonist in the novel's extended flashback, I couldn't help but have wished he played an even greater role in the present day '70s storyline as he did in the past. From the blink and you'll miss it decision for a main character to run away to the solution of a murder – both of which occur in a mere page or two – while there's enough going on in the plot and character heavy book to forgive some of its lopsided storytelling, Myth should've spent less time on extraneous subplots and more ink on what really matters. Nonetheless a lovely work of Southern Gothic fiction anchored by a strong female protagonist, Crandall's promising Myth may have its flaws. But like a good glass of lemonade on a hot summer day, you can't enjoy the sweet without the sour and thankfully there's enough of both here to keep you coming back for more. Note – I received an ARC of the novel through Bookish First and if given the opportunity, I would've rated it 3.5 stars.
MzzLily More than 1 year ago
Tallulah James is a burdened middle-child in a beyond-dysfunctional family wrecked by mental illness. Her grandmother has taught her well to protect the family secrets and reputation above all else. What secret could be worth this pain of holding it in? Her older brother Griff promises to someday sweep her away to a better life in California, until a tragic event tears them apart and leaves Tallulah alone to hold together her imploding family. When the family disintegrates, Tallulah heads out on her own, seeking the California dream she shared with Griff, only to find the ghosts of her childhood followed her. Unable to give herself fully to anyone, she pours her all into her career—until another crisis pulls her back to Lamoyne, Mississippi. Returning to the place of her oppressive memories, will Tallulah break? Or will she finally be able to make peace with her past? This story had me hooked from the first page. I felt Tallulah’s pain. Understood why she hid her heart behind a wall. I wanted someone to hold her and tell her it would be alright. I was totally invested in this character. The Myth of Perpetual Summer belongs on a shelf with other classics. Not only is the story riveting—it is important. It features a bi-racial friendship in 1960s Mississippi. It tells—though briefly—the tale of those who fought for equal rights as well as those who didn’t understand. It discusses the devastation mental illness can heap on a family. It even rolls in a pot of corruption. There is far too much in this story to write in a review. The quality of the writing is outstanding. Descriptions will have you dabbing the Mississippi sweat from your brow and smelling the dark waters of the alligator-infested river. The pace is excellent, and the story never lags. I will read more books by this author. I give this book FIVE stars, only because that’s the maximum. There is the tiniest bit of foul language and sexual situations (nothing graphic), but I felt those areas made the story and the characters genuine and revealed an important layer to their personalities. I wouldn’t have a problem with my fourteen-year-old granddaughter reading it—and I’m cautious with what I expose my grandchildren to. This book is the book by which all other summer reads will be weighed. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Gallery Books through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Racie0417 More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars for a well done Southern gothic family drama. I was immediately drawn into Tallulah’s world in Lamoyne Mississippi. The story is told in the past and the present and it slowly reveals the family secrets. Tallulah and her older brother Griff are largely responsible for their younger twin siblings, Walden and Dharma while their erratic father is a history professor and their mother who insists they call her by her first name runs off to volunteer for various causes. This book addresses small town gossip and mental illness in an excellent manner. There is a touch of romance, a bit of suspense, along with the drama. While all the family secrets are revealed, the ending leaves room for speculation which I enjoyed.
Fredreeca2001 More than 1 year ago
Tallulah just saw the news. She cannot believe it. Her little brother is being accused of murder. She must get home. Even though she has not seen him, or anyone in her family for years, she knows she must go back to Mississippi and face her past. I love Tallulah. And I really do not know how to describe her. She has been hurt and is a damaged woman, especially when it comes to relationships. But, she is a character that loves with all her heart. Tallulah had some hard times as a child. Her father suffered from a mental illness and her mother disappeared and reappeared so many times in her young life. Tallulah, her older brother, Griff and her southern bell grandmother did all they could to keep the family together. This is an emotional roller coaster of a story. Many places were hard to read and you just wanted to reach through the pages and give this family a helping hand. As most of you know, I am a HUGE fan of southern fiction. Susan Crandall is spot on! Her southern characters and her descriptions of Mississippi, are all true to form! Plus, and this is a huge plus, Susan Crandall has the best prose! I know I am not supposed to quote an ARC. And it tells you right at the beginning of this book not to quote…well, I am still gonna do it. “Memories as thick as the air and mud and secrets of our Mississippi childhood sit heavy on my skin.” DO NOT MISS THIS ONE!
Sunshine1006 More than 1 year ago
Being from the deep south, I understand the complications, lies, heartache, deception and the need to leave even though you love your family. Most families have secrets that they had rather not talk about. The family name is usually very important to many people. Tulie is the oldest girl with Griff the oldest son, there's a set of younger twins as well. The have all left except for Walden. He stayed and joined a cult . A true believer. Tulie renews her friendships with a few people but knows she can never live there again. Dharma,, one of the twins was adopted by an uncle and Walden was not. Dharma is in New York and doesn't want anyone to know she is part of the family. Their Dad has died and their mother seems to be off in a cult in Arizona. This is a wonderful book about family and what makes them. And sound chances A definite page turner, Well written. A summer read that you won't soon forget. I received this book from Net Galley for an honest review and no compensation otherwise.
Nicnac63 More than 1 year ago
A 2018 Favorite! I love everything about this book—the characters, the themes, the setting, the time period, the authors, and the ending. A definitive favorite of 2018! In 2013, I read Susan Crandall’s breakout novel, Whistling Past the Graveyard, and fell in love with her brilliant storytelling. I remember being in awe of her ability to create such rich characters that seep into your heart and mind, and refuse to leave. A part of young Starla, its coming-of-age protagonist, still lives with me. In The Myth of Perpetual Summer, which takes place during the same Civil Rights era and on through the 70s, Tallulah James is just as endearing and memorable, if not more so. Although my childhood circumstances weren’t the same as “Lullie’s,” they were turbulent. This enabled me to fully sympathize and empathize with her. I feel as if I’ve walked in her shoes and made many of the same choices she made—missteps, as well as successes. Having a Manic-Depressive (Bi-Polar) parent, I certainly understand the “hurricane” and “shadow” times Tallulah was forced to experience throughout childhood. I understand her inner yearnings for “normal” parents who bake cookies, have tea parties, and play ball with their children. Perhaps having so many similarities with Tallulah is why I love this story so much, but I can’t imagine anyone not being able to relate to her. I’ve never even visited Louisiana, but now feel as if a part of me has lived there. Tallulah’s hometown of Lamoyne depicts so many southern towns in the US, with mixtures of friendly community and bothersome busybodies, unwanted broadcasts and “things that are never mentioned,” Southern hospitality and social intolerance. Growing up in the 60s and 70s, I enjoyed looking back into certain aspects of my younger years, although the social injustices I witnessed during the Civil Rights Movement were painful to revisit. The world has progressed in the past five decades, but not nearly enough. I could go on and on about why I love this story, but I’ll end by saying one of my favorite things about The Myth of Perpetual Summer, aside from the heartrending message of redemption, is that nothing feels fabricated. That’s quite a feat for a tale that was fabricated in the author’s mind. Kudos, Ms. Crandall—brilliant storytelling! I received an Advanced Copy of this book from NetGalley.