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Summer Melody Paperback – October 10, 2012
About the Author
Toddie Downs is a freelance writer and editor who lives in Snoqualmie, Washington with her children, long-suffering spouse, and skittish cat. Because she’s never figured out what she wants to be when she grows up, she is also a practicing pediatric speech-language pathologist who dreams of one day owning a yarn store. Her award-winning articles and essays have been published in over twenty regional and national magazines as well as all over the internet.
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Top Customer Reviews
***Another reader pointed out that this book took place in 1992 and correctly suggested that understanding and acceptance of autism would have been very different then. Absolutely. I had missed the fact that this took place so long ago. People would not have had the awareness or understanding of autism we see today, which was why I found it so off putting. These interactions were probably pretty representative of those times!
As soon as I understood what relationship each character had with one another, I was hooked. Each chapter is told from the POV of one of the main characters: Bonnie, Meg, or Jane. This book was all about the character relationships and character details. I was extremely fascinated to see the dynamics that played out with a character with dementia and a character with autism.
This is contemporary work at its most realistic. It isn’t necessarily a fictional book with a recognizable plot arc. It is a story that will delve into characters we might not necessarily see in fiction or portrayed in fiction as a normal part of the characters’ lives. This is their reality and it is so interesting to read about.
Taking place over the course of a summer in a Midwest town this novel moves back and forth between main characters to tell the unfolding story from several points of view. One thing that I found fascinating was that each one made a mistake of some sort and the ramifications of that mistake were not always bad. I guess that's kind of a good rule for living and makes for a feel-good-and-quite-content-when-its-over kind of story.
I highly recommend reading this novel!
There isn't a strong male figure in the story. Bonnie and Vivian's father has been dead many years, and Bonnie is divorced, while Meg's fiance is a mama's boy. Not only is there little male presence in the lives of these women, but also, Elizabeth and Vivian share a common secret that caused their relationship to become toxic and to remain so for the rest of Elizabeth's life.
This author has the remarkable gift of setting forth natural dialogue, as well as to establish a marvelous rhythm and flow of the story. There are no "over the top" moments in the entire story, and it is one that brings a twinge of sadness when the reader is done, because the hours reading it are over.
This is a must read for all ages.
I highly recommend this book to parents and grown children.....especially parents raising a challenged child and to their families, and adult children facing the changing dynamics of their relationship with aging parents. I also recommend it to teachers and educational aides, counselors and child care workers, and to all who are simply members of families who live and work through the joys and problems that come with that status.