Quality Book Reviews

Summer of Light
By W. Dale Cramer
Bethany House Publishers, 2007
ISBN: 0-7642-2996-6
Reviewed by: Terry South for Reader Views (02/07)

Contemporary Fiction at its finest
5 stars

“Summer of Light” is a story which addresses stay at home fathers. The main character, Mick Brannigan was an ironworker whom after a bizarre accident is thrown from his life in construction to that of a stay at home father. Layne, Mick’s wife urges Mick to stop looking for a job as their four year old son Dylan needs constant supervision. Due to Dylan’s special needs and a predictable daily routine, Layne urges Mick to stay at home and care for Dylan and their other two school-aged children. Layne returns to work as a paralegal at the law firm with mixed feelings, she would rather be the one at home tending to the chores and tending to the children as she is not confident that Mick is quite up to the task at hand.

Mick is unsettled as he wants to be the provider of his family, his father had left when he was a child and that disturbs him, and he yearns to remain the provider. Mick eventually agrees to stay home for awhile, so he begins to manage the house, the chores, the children, the animals and their five acres of land. During his year long journey of being a stay at home dad he makes discoveries about himself, his children, and his wife.

The stories setting takes place in Georgia, and the Brannigan’s neighbors are pesky to say the least. Mick has a gift of photography and he does not even realize he is great with the camera, but it catches the eye of one of his neighbor’s wife. In short, this is a story of more modern day families who are struggling through with everyday life, reversal of roles, and the circumstances in which we all face eventually. Mick finds faith and hope and through his photographs of his children, the country, and his work at a homeless shelter it reveals his beliefs.

Dale Cramer has a unique writing style, and he draws you into the story. His characters are so believable and the story contains vivid accounts and details. Cramer has a gift for telling a great story that is driven by his characters, which are engaging, strong in emotion and believe in what they are doing. They are so well-developed that by the end of the book, you feel as if you have gained new friends.

This is contemporary fiction at its finest, engaging and surprisingly humorous at times; it also is an emotional story and will touch your heart. I highly recommend this book to anyone whether male or female looking for a light but touching read. I enjoy this author’s work and he brings new elements into his story while still retaining his unique voice.

Summer of Light earns 5 stars and is a highly recommended read.