Remember the days of Studebakers, Wiffle ball, Nikita Khrushchev, and Good Humor trucks? More than likely you will be recalling the 60s.
Opening the pages of The Summer The Wind Whispered My Name is comparable to entering a time machine and being whisked back to the summer of 1960. I was pulled into a world of innocence. A world where Davy Connors woke early each morning to find his clothes laid out on the bathroom floor, his breakfast on the table, and a pile of newspapers waiting to be delivered. Where Davy played Wiffle ball with the other neighborhood children on the streets during the day and hide and seek at night. Where a sense of belonging filled the air.
But for Davy, the summer of 1960 brought the wind of change—a change that cracked his innocence and allowed awareness to seep in. A change that shook the pedestal he had placed his father on and tested his own sense of what was right.
Davy’s idyllic family life begins to shatter with the arrival of a Negro family in the neighborhood. As his mother prepares a welcoming committee, his father joins those opposed to the new arrivals. Tension soon mounts when prejudices are laid bare and faith is tested as the community struggles to come to terms with their differences.
As Davy watches those around him, he ponders on what is normal, learns the difference between doing what’s right and doing what’s popular, witnesses the wonder of unquestioning faith and God’s timing, and faces the reality of death.
The Summer The Wind Whispered My Name is a delight to read with its fresh voice, poignant message, and witty chapter titles.
The book is brought to life by its rich characterizations and subtle messages. There’s Davy, the precocious boy who tugs at your heart and provides amusing insights into those around him; Mr. Melzer, the peacemaker with his undaunted faith and love for everyone; the lonely Mrs. Wrinklemeyer with her cats and ancient candy; and Davy’s mom, Ruth Conners, whose quiet faith propels her to create the Gospel Flight Day.
As well as racial prejudice, Locke touches on other attitudes prevalent of the era. The stigma attached to divorcees and the fear created by the Cold War are just two examples readers witness through the lives of the Conners family. For readers born after the 60s, Locke includes an informative section entitled The Way Things Were In 1960 which adds to the understanding of topics raised within the book.
The Summer The Wind Whispered My Name is the kind of book you want to read while lounging in the sun with a cold lemonade and a Good Humor bar. But beware—the book does contain a couple of gross out moments via loogie torture and booger promises.