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3 Stars Out Of 5
March 29, 2009
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 the night I got it. 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.
The book is about a boy named Davy who grows up in 1960s suburbia America. His life is as clich as Leave It to Beaver. He runs a daily paper route, has a tree house with neighborhood children, and lives in an era where children are able to freely roam and explore without threat. The story begins to expand when an African American family moves in down the street. The children of the neighborhood, specifically Davy, are faced with making mature choices. For the first time, many are able to see their parents as flawed individuals whom they do not have to or want to agree with. When the prejudice attitudes reach the point of violence, the neighborhood is forced to take a stance.Although the general storyline is a bit predictable, Davys emotions and relationships take turns and changes I found compelling. The author candidly describes Davys feelings in a way that is both eloquent and identifiable. Small rabbit trail stories within the book are connected nicely in the final chapters. The book was an easy and enjoyable read. I was disappointed with the lack of spiritual depth in the first 2/3 of the book. However, the rational behind each characters action is combined with cultural, church and Christian explanations. Great book for a light hearted read.
Don Lockes novel, The Summer the Wind Whispered My Name, is the poignant story of a young boy who confronts his faith in the face of racism on his road to self-discovery during the 1960s. This book impressed me on many levels: its easy readability, the cleverness of the chapter titles, the authors responsible handling of such controversial subject matter with sensitivity and truth, and how the author brilliantly transports the reader back in time to this turbulent era.The features in this book are incredible, as well. The reader guide includes incredible questions for discussion or contemplation. The Way Things Were trivia was fascinating, especially the cost of living statistics. This is a thought-provoking read.