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A Delirious Summer: A Novel Paperback – May 1, 2004

35 customer reviews

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Eve by WM. Paul Young
From the author of the best seller The Shack comes a captivating new novel destined to be one of the most important and talked about books of the decade. Learn more | See more by WM. Paul Young

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Blackston's debut novel, Flabbergasted, readers were introduced to the zany town of Greenville, S.C., "a huge, boiling pot of relational gumbo" where singles play "denominational hopscotch" on Sunday mornings to meet eligible men and women. Blackston picks up his tale in this less sparkling sophomore novel as told through the eyes of 29-year-old Neil Rucker, a missionary on furlough who is desperate for a date. The harmonica-playing Neil has "sampled a few regrettable grapes" in his life, and when he breaks his dateless streak, he's hoping for a respectable Christian girl he can get serious about. Beatrice Dean, 81, is a senior single who's cruising for a man (dateless streak three years and counting) and provides engaging moments throughout the story. Missionaries, we discover, are never really on furlough, and soon Neil; his new romantic interest, Alexis Demoss; the feisty Beatrice and others are headed to Ecuador to rebuild huts burned down in a village fire. Overwriting creeps in too often (blown napkins are sent "dancing on their corners, fluttering across the lawn in an airy samba of white") and scenes tend to run too long, slowing the pace. The plot is thin, with echoes of the earlier book, but the quirky characters help keep the reader interested. In the end, however, it's Blackston's tongue-in-cheek humor about the lives of Christian singles that will grab the attention of readers of evangelical fiction.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Blackston's Delirious Summer is a frantic portrait of the Christian dating scene. Missionary "Neil of Ecuador," on furlough from his grim job as a Spanish teacher in Quito, settles in Greenville, South Carolina, which, according to a friend, is "a city of surprising complexity." Neil badly needs to get laid, though this being an evangelical novel, Blackston can't put it that way. Anyhow, the Christian girls of Greenville are accommodating but have gone a bit daft. Joined in a sort of guild called the "Ladies of the Quest," they practice serial churchgoing, "hopscotching" from Penecostal to Methodist to Southern Baptist in search of the elusive Mr. Right. He's a rare bird, indeed. Once Neil learns the rules, he has some amusing adventures among the questing ladies, but on the whole Blackston's portrait of being single and godly is rather sad. John Mort
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Revell; First Edition edition (May 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800759583
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800759582
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,976,389 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Alan Attebery on November 11, 2004
Format: Paperback
When we last saw the gang of Greenville, South Carolina, Jay Jarvis decided to work with his new girlfriend, Allie, in the mission fields of Ecuador, 80-year old Beatrice and her garden club were vacationing in Europe, Steve and the other single Presbyterian men were wondering how to meet women, and the single women were wondering which denomination they wanted to be the next Sunday in their pursuit to meet men.

It's summertime again, a year later, and Neil Rucker is waiting for Jay to finish his Spanish final exam so that Neil can set off on his much deserved three-month summer vacation back in the states. Desperate for extra credit so as not to fail the exam, Jay tells Neil about the single women of Greenville.

When Neil gets to Greenville, he finds: The single women have formed an online database of the various denominational churches in Greenville and the available men within them. Darcy ruining Sherbert's by taking men on a fast ride down the mountain. 81-year old Beatrice planting 'Tribes of Many Nations' at the Pesbyterian church. And a wacky girl named Alexis, who he makes midnight shakes with.

"A Delirious Summer" fluently picks up where "Flabbergasted" left off. Ray Blackston again shows that he has talent in writing funny, offbeat, Christian fiction. Once again, Ray has written his Christian characters as human, instead of the stiff, boring, perfect "we're better than everyone else" stereotype that is so often depicted by mainstream authors.

Where "Flabbergasted" was an unabashed 'coming to the Lord' book, "A Delirious Summer" is an unabashed 'finding who you are in God' book. Before the summer is out, Neil will come to understand how God is working in his life, even during Neil's summer vacation.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Cheryl Russell VINE VOICE on May 8, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Harmonica playing Neil Rucker is a Spanish language teacher who clambers onto roofs when he has the need for serious discussions with the Almighty. Neil has a most vexing problem-he has gone dateless for seven months, one week and one day. His furlough, and return to the States, is soon and he has one goal: female companionship. So when his worst student, Jay Jarvis, exchanges 'I know where available females live' information for bonus points on a test he is failing, Neil is on his way. He's heading for Greenville, South Carolina and the Ladies of the Quest. The Ladies are young, single, and in search of husbands. In order to accomplish their goals, they have taken to 'church hopscotch'-different groups of Ladies rotate to different churches-according to their schedule-to see where the most desirable guys are attending. Reports are made weekly, databases are kept up to date, and everyone is informed of the latest rankings via weekly email updates. The Ladies have their Quest; Neil has his. His summer turns zany as he gets to know his roommate Steve, leadfoot Darcy and her lime green, Cadillac convertable Sherbet, Lydia-the one of many rules, free-spirited Alexis, charter boat owners Preacher Smoak and Maurice, flamboyant Quilla and 81 year old Beatrice Dean, gardener, landscaper and practioner of her own version of church hopscotch. His mentor Jose of Mexico City, keeps Neil's head on straight by his words of wisdom and tangelos-his preferred prop for object lessons.
"A Delirious Summer" is a funny, entertaining book that is hard to put down once you start.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Armchair Interviews on May 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
A Delirious Summer is the sequel to Flabbergasted. This time Neil Rucker acts as narrator, although many of the same characters from Flabbergasted make an appearance.

Neil Rucker is a missionary working as a language instructor in Ecuador. Rucker is about to embark on an 8-week furlough. After he tells Jay (from Flabbergasted) that he has been dateless for 7 months, one week, two days and counting ... Jay tells him about the girls in Greenville, South Carolina - and convinces him to spend his furlough there.

Rucker decides to follow Jay's suggestion and travels to South Carolina where he meets Darcy, Lydia and Alexis, mingles with the men's singles group, and goes on the annual beach vacation.

Life is good until disaster strikes in Ecuador and Allie and Jay need help. The group immediately leaves South Carolina for Ecuador to help.

A Delirious Summer has quirky characters and crazy situations. It's another lighthearted read with a lot of laughs and includes spiritual insights. I enjoyed A Delirious Summer, but not as much as I enjoyed Flabbergasted.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Eric Wilson on June 19, 2004
Format: Paperback
Blackston splashed onto the scene last year with his highly entertaining "Flabbergasted." He introduced lad lit to a readership inundated with the chick lit counterpart. I welcomed the fresh touch and witty insights of the story.
Just in time for summer, Blackston serves up a second helping of relational gumbo. The novel may appear to be Christian dating ala mode, but it aims to be much more. This time, Jay remains in the jungles of Ecuador, while his friend and teacher, Neil, accepts a challenge to spend his own furlough in the tangled web of S. Carolina's singles scene. Along the way, he meets new friends, potential flames, and fresh insight into God's working in every aspect of his life.
Fans of the first book will enjoy visiting again with Darcy and Alexis. They'll enjoy the brief moments on a fishing boat, and the more stretching experiences of jungle work. Although the narrative seems to try too hard in some places, it's always fun and warm. Don't be surprised if you laugh out loud in spots. Don't be shocked if it lifts your spirits along the way.
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