Memories Of Summer by Ruth White

November 20, 2009
By Emily S BRONZE, Newark, Delaware
Emily S BRONZE, Newark, Delaware
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Sibling love is strong. But the boundaries of how strong it is is tested by Lyric Compton, an average young teen who grew up with her older sister Summer and her Poppy in a small town of Virginia in the 1950s in Memories Of Summer, by Ruth White. Lyric and Summer had always had a close relationship, and Lyric had always admired Summer and loved her for taking care of her and being the motherly figure in her life because their mother passed away fairly shortly after Lyric was born. The sisters were best friends, telling each other their secrets, laughing together, crying together, growing up together. It was everything Lyric had ever known, and never thought it'd change.

For Summer's sixteenth birthday, Lyric, Summer, and their father move to Flint, Michigan, and life changes drastically for everyone. In the city, everyone uses cars and lives in crowded apartments. In the city, everyone pronounces their words differently and job requirements were different. Their father had not foretold that many jobs would not easily hire men over the age of 35, which meant the small family was now living on less money than expected. Everything was new, including Summer's behavior. Where it had been strange before, it was nothing compared to what it was beginning to develop into.

While at school, Lyric was progressing socially, Summer was regressing. She wasn't making any friends, and after a few weeks refused to go to school. She began scratching at her face with her long, pretty nails, scarring her beautiful face Lyric had always praised. At first, Lyric and her father thought this was just an adjustment to the move, but things began to worsen. Summer had always whispered to herself, but now she was whispering to imaginary people, and to people who've passed away years ago – such as her mother and her grandfather. Lyrics and her father are concerned, so they send her to a psychiatrist. For a short while, it seems as if the medicine is helping. Lyric begins to hope, and a flicker of her older sister returning to her rises in her thoughts. It's a false hope, and Summer's behavior plummets to an all time low.

Summer becomes unreasonably violent. A tornado warning comes up while the two girls are at home, and the father phones home quickly and tells the girls to turn on the television and listen to the news. In a worried rush, Lyric turns on the television and listens as the news reporter lists instructions for what to to because of the tornado. Sleepily, Summer trudges downstairs with a glass mug of Kool-Aid in her hand, and asks to turn the channel. Lyric refuses and continues to listen to the news. Summer grows out of control and starts screaming, yelling at Lyric to turn the TV so she can watch her talk show. Summer takes the glass cup and smashes it against Lyric's skull, and blood pours from her head. In an effort to listen to the news person, Lyric goes into the basement, encouraging Summer to come with her as she forgets about the wound on her head. Summer refuses because her hallcinations are beginning to work up, claiming there are wolves in the basement. After a heated argument and yelling, Lyric thunders downstairs into the basement to hide from the tornado, and leaves her older sister to fend for herself. Not only this, but Summer develops a fascination for playing with sharp objects and setting herself on fire with matches.

Lyric and her father can deny it no longer.

Summer is sick, and they can't hide her forever.

Lyric loves her sister terribly, and is torn between shielding and protecting Summer from the world and sending her to be treated by a hospital, because the medicine is no longer taking effect. How far can this sibling love go?

Memories Of Summer is an amazing book, and my paperback copy is falling apart because I've read it so many times. This is an amazing story that takes many twists and throws thoughtful ideas for you to try to wrap your mind around. It's a story that'll keep your nose pressed to the pages until you've finished reading the last word.

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