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End of Summer Paperback – November 22, 2011
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From the Author
As a person diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome as an adult, I often look back to childhood for the origin of my quirks and obsessive interests, as does Jeffrey in End of Summer. All authors bring themselves and their past to their books, and this book is no exception. Most of the characters are based on people I knew as a child. My parents are still living, as is not the case with Jeffrey's parents in the book, but I wished to focus on Jeffrey's relationship with his granddaddy. Jeffrey is me and his quirks and obsessions are my quirks and obsessions--the one difference is that he is more polite than I was as a child. Perhaps he is an idealized me with the quirks, but without some of the rougher edges. Of course many of the details in the book never happened and even the events that happened are "fictionalized."
The process of writing the book was fascinating. I wrote the first draft staying at the Weymouth Center in Southern Pines. I had written about ten pages before I came there for ten days--and by the time I left the first draft had been completed. The field behind the Weymouth Center reminded me of Granddaddy's field--outcroppings of trees, whose tangled branches formed "rooms." The experience was magic, one of being in Jeffrey's shoes and walking through that field as an adult. The images came like video in my mind, and I described what was replayed. The good and bad moments of childhood came like a flood--I now understand why writers drink. It is to deal with the emotional overload that inevitably arises from writing. Yet those Weymouth memories are among the best of my life. I came away with a better understanding of how Asperger's Syndrome had affected my life from my earliest memories onward. I truly enjoyed writing this book, and hope those of you who read it enjoy as much as I did writing it.
From the Back Cover
A deeply moving and passionate book, Michael Potts' End of Summer is a poignant literary novel about childhood and memory. This is contemporary Southern fiction at its best. In textured language and with heartfelt attention to detail, Potts' nuanced portrayal of rural life in southern Appalachia and a young boy's initial encounter with death reminds us that life at the economic margins can be culturally and spiritually rich, and that even as absences and losses sometimes damage us, these can also strengthen and redeem.
- Michael Colonnese, Ph.D.
Author of Sex and Death, I Suppose
and Temporary Agency
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Top customer reviews
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Michael Potts wrote a story that will tug at your heart strings. The meticulous details of Jeffrey's life at age nine made me feel as if I was living with him, feeling his joys and his sorrows. Jeffrey's grandparents truly gave him a warm, safe, and loving childhood. The descriptions of the lazy summer days working in the garden, going on bike rides, and the Sunday suppers showed just how normal Jeffrey's life was. Even when faced with the coming death of his granddaddy, the aunts made him register for school and get ready to continue his everyday life.
End of summer is a wonderful Southern fiction novel. The story of a man's journey from childhood to adulthood trying to deal with his obsessions. I loved this novel. It pulled me in and made me keep turning pages until the very end of the story. If you are looking for a heart tugging story this is for you.
As Jeffrey journeyed back to the location of his childhood, his memories welcomed me in and together we got lost in the joy and pain of life in an ever changing world. I felt privileged to share in a summer that stirred such familiar feelings of bliss and longing, despite being set in a very different time and place to my own youth. The comfort in repetition, the familiarity, the endless days spent with friends and family; all these things contributed to a sense of the eternal summer - something I myself recall with equal fondness and heartache.
Having lost someone so instrumental in defining who I am, as so many unfortunately have, I took comfort in Jeffrey's thoughts and fears, so eloquently portrayed. I found myself rushing through the pages, desperately hoping he would find his answer; the thing that would allow him to face and make sense of what was happening to his life. I guess in that respect I was only going to be disappointed and the panic Jeffrey experiences as he realizes he can no longer hide from death and change is overwhelming.
I wish I had a little more time to link the boy to the man. I was intrigued by the adult Jeffrey but found it difficult to merge this character with the young Jeffrey. The ending is uplifting in promoting a positive message of cherishing your memories and finding peace in the knowledge that your loved ones will live on forever in them. I get the sense this must have been a deeply personal, hopefully cleansing piece of writing and I truly admire the author's honesty.
I especially like the way the author interweaves the narrator's adult fascination with death with his childhood experiences of death; that is a very thematically rich element of the book, and I only wish the author had done more with this death/life theme in relation to the adult narrator's interests and experiences--but perhaps that would have taken the novel too deeply into the adult narrator's life and too far away from the experiences of the child character, which is where the focus and interest really seem to lie in this book.
Anyway, this was not only a moving but an interesting and thought-provoking reading experience. I recommend it.