IT DOESN’T TAKE LONG TO REALIZE THAT SOMETHING IS OFF. The father rambled through dark alleyways believing strangers were his son. The daughter forgot what it felt like to moan. Church members claimed to throw bricks through home windows in the name of The Lord. Yet, rather than dismiss these characters as a group badly in need of therapy, Mia McKenzie compels you to ask ‘why.’
Throughout her dynamic novel, The Summer We Got Free, Mia McKenzie presents a broken family devastated by murder, affairs, and untold truths. More significantly, she urges readers to understand how controversial issues such as negative attitudes towards the LGBT community, potential pitfalls of the Church, and the juvenile delinquent system plays a role in the dismemberment of a familial structure.
WHILE THE SUMMER WE GOT FREE DELIVERS A HOST OF RELEVANT MESSAGES, one could argue that the most pressing message is that we should always challenge assumptions. Time and time again we see how commonly held assumptions and unchallenged ‘truths’ spewed from authority figures led to demise. Mckenzie’s remarkable character, Helena, poses this argument most clearly. Helena states, “Do you know how much I have come to hate that word? Seems. People use ‘seems’ to keep from having to really know anything. They just decide how something seems and they don’t have to look any deeper, or go any further, or ask any uncomfortable questions.”
She later goes on to clarify her stance noting, “I decided then that I would never be satisfied with how anything seemed—a situation, or a person. That I would always look deeper and try to see what was really there. I became obsessed with the idea of knowing things, and knowing people, really knowing them, underneath.”
Surely, readers come to find that Helena’s commitment to ask the uncomfortable questions and truly understand others ultimately leads to the healing of the dismantled family.
TRUST ME. It is impossible to write a longer review on this book without giving away details. If you are looking for a page-turner that engages you in relevant social issues–pick up The Summer We Got Free today.
NEW INSIGHT: It’s never too late to seek healing. You are powerful enough to initiate the healing process of others just by taking the effort to understand them.
“It’s the easiest thing in the world to sit back and blame other people for how your life turned out. I done that for years. But it don’t serve no purpose, ‘cause in the end all you gone get is a life that went ahead and turned out while you was busy pointing fingers, and by then it’ll be too late for you to do anything about it.”
“He had known then that he was part of creation, made by God with intention, pure and right as grass and bees.”
“’Because people can’t fly if you always telling them they shouldn’t.’ [Ava said]
The pastor laughed. ‘You got quite a little imagination.’
She knew he did not think people could fly. To accommodate his ignorance, she rephrased it in a way he could understand. ‘Nobody can think for theyself if you always telling them what to do.'”