Atomic Summer

Atomic Summer - Elaine D. Walsh I got to tell you. Atomic Summer was an enjoyable read!I certainly commend Walsh on her characterization. Normally when I read a book in two days, I am not that impacted by characters at all. However, Atomic Summer is an exception. Each character evoked different emotional responses from me. Faith's character was eponymous of her name. She is a loyal Catholic, and though she tries her best to uphold morality, she is often gullible. There are times when I feel so sorry for her when she cannot interpret how vicious the world is. Octavia is socially-awkward, and for a part of the book, I grew tired of having to read her narration. Surrounded by books and constricted by her responsibilities for Archie, Octavia though intelligent, is quite mundane considering her age. Then I realized, "wait - this girl has adult responsibilities to fulfill". So I must confess, I began to grow fond of her because I felt pitiful for her. Also, she had the most pain to deal with. My favorite characterization was for Bernadette. She is a vicious adolescent with dictating hormones and no conscience. Though Bernadette did not narrate, Walsh gave us a lot of information on her via her loyal friends. I think Bernadette represents a lot of people we know today. She is manipulative and mocking, covetous and crazed. Sometimes I wish Walsh made her break an arm. There are many other characters in the book - Susannah, Stephen, Lyle, Allen, Wesley, etc - that not only enhance the plot, but make the book more authentic by presenting personalities we are familiar with.The plot was fast-paced - perfect for a summer read. I spent two nights reading this on my tablet, often finding out that morning came upon me.The novel is chronicled well by both Octavia and Faith. Their transitions are well-organized, allowing for a smooth plot. It was not hard to follow at all despite the stark difference between character narration. Unfortunately, the ending of the novel seemed a bit rushed. The reunion of 1973 was too functional in its exposing of secrets. The reunion was more of a "tell-all" session, and could have been less obvious.Walsh's style is one that keeps readers intrigued. She leaves a lot of room for suspicion and even adds elements of humor. Flashbacks are obviously essential since the characters in the novel are adults now. Her diction differs amongst narrators. For instance, with Octavia you will except eloquence and slight depression. While with Faith, her diction is simple. She presents a wide range of personalities, whether it be a sleazy lurker (Lyle) or an egotistic matriarch (Susannah). With her ability to depict such distinct natures, it is obvious that Walsh excels in being a versatile writer. Her figurative elements such as her historical allusions and vivid imagery build up a story that immediately places the reader in the frantic atmosphere of the 1950s. I also loved the combination of themes Walsh presented. There is childhood innocence, betrayal, sexuality, religion, loss, grief - it is amazing how many themes can occupy such a short read.I highly recommend Atomic Summer not only to those in need of a fast-paced read, but to those who insist that the world was completely structured differently in terms of society. You will be shocked to see how Atomic Summer - a 1950s novel -parallels to our lives today. Its significance is one that will never expire as long as we live.