Tuesday, 30 July 2013

The Summer We all Ran Away by Cassandra Parkin





Nineteen year old Davey finds himself drunk, beaten and alone. He is rescued by the oddly-assorted inhabitants of an abandoned and beautiful house in the West Country, whose only condition for letting him join them is that he ask them no questions.

Nearly forty years ago in that same house, burned-out rock star Jack Laker writes a ground-breaking comeback album, and abandons the girl who saved his life to embark on a doomed and passionate romance with a young actress. Set on his own destructive path, alcohol fuelled parties lead to deceit, debauchery and even murder.

As Davey and his fellow housemate Priss try to reconstruct the pieces of the past and uncover the secrets of the house’s inhabitants, both past and present, it becomes clear that the five strangers have all been drawn there by the events of that long-ago summer.


I thought this was a very interestingly thought out story, not at all something I have come across before and the way it was written worked really well.

We are first introduced to Davey. Davey appears to have a drink problem and this is to do with him having an unhappy home life, which has forced him to run away. An encounter with a policeman makes Davey make a snap decision to run away to Cornwall and this is where he stumbles across a house where the people there show unexpected kindness and take him in. 

Here we are introduced to a very different array of characters; Tom, Kate and Priss. At first we and Davey think that they own the house, but Kate announces that they are squatters and to Davey this explains their kindness at taking him in. Kate and Tom are the most caring and kind, whereas Priss is quite brisk and says what she thinks. An example of this is when Davey stutters, she fills his stutter in with her own words. But although Priss comes across as mean, she is actually caring underneath and we know the meanness is just a front. It is also through her that the past of the other characters are revealed through her determination and stubbornness to find out what is so strange about the house and why Tom and Kate act the way they do. For Davey to stay in the house they ask they he ask no questions, but this makes Priss extremely curious and she wants to know what they are hiding.

The house has long ago been abandoned and there is something eery about it, as if there are ghosts there.

We then flip back to past with Jack; a singer who does not want the publicity to go with it. He seems to be troubled person and at a party organised by his girlfriend (who's not his girlfriend) he meets Mathilda and falls quite obsessively in love with her. As the story goes back and forth between the past and the present, you start to wonder what the link is between Jack and Davey and the others.

The flip between the then and now chapters is very cleverly done. The chapters appear to match up to one another of what was happening then and what is happening now as you begin to realise they are set in the same house. The chapters slowly unravel information about each of the characters and how they ended up where there are now.

The character I felt the most sorry for was Davey. Out of all of them, to me he seemed to be the person that had suffered the most and as little bits of his past are revealed I could really understand why he had run away and I could feel myself getting angry when I was reading what he had been put through. I also liked Priss but I was a little confused as to why she ran away as sometimes the MSN messenger speak was hard to follow.

The way the author reveals the past of each character, fits well into the story and we discover that each of them have all run away from something and by chance they have all ended up in the same house. The characters were really well written with all their hidden complexities and you will really feel for them and want them to find happiness.

Although not a typical summer read, this story still pulled me in and I got lost in the house along with Davey and Priss. Although the characters have their own complexities, you will be drawn to them and want to find out their stories as you read.

8/10

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