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It was scary how good I was getting at sin and breaking the law. Every time I went to church, I expected the roof to cave in. I felt like I had been sprayed with glow-in-the-dark paint that would flash like a neon sign--sinner, sinner, sinner--but everyone just treated me like they always had. I began to wonder if some of them might be hiding things, too. The whole business of good and evil seemed completely turned around to what I had always been taught. How could something so good as loving Tripp be considered so bad?
From a new voice in fiction that's sure to delight fans of Lee Smith and Bailey White comes a heartwarming coming-of-age novel, bringing to life a host of unforgettable characters in a small Arkansas town during the freewheeling sixties.
Cherry (short for Cheryl Ann) Marshall is the tallest, gawkiest, most unwittingly beautiful girl ever to come out of Sweet Valley, Arkansas. Her father's a deacon at the First Apostolic Holiness Church of God--a real Don't religion, as Cherry sees it. They don't believe in dancing or drinking or swearing or playing cards or wearing makeup or shorts or even sleeveless dresses, much less swimming suits, to mention a few things. Together with her best friend, Baby, Cherry fights off the drudgery of her job peeling onions at the pickle plant as the rest of the country explodes. It's 1969--the summer of the first moon landing, Woodstock, the Manson murders, and raging protests against the Vietnam War.
But when a hip--and sexy--stranger with bedroom eyes and a winning smile comes to Sweet Valley and falls in love with Cherry, she gets a taste of everything that her Fundamentalist upbringing has taught her is bad. Setting out on an adventure, Cherry comes to see that Sweet Valley isn't quite what she thought. Everybody's got secrets: the boys who've just come back from the war, her fellow churchgoers, even Baby. And when the body of a young woman is pulled from the lake, the secrets threaten to sweep away everything good that Cherry has ever believed in.
A tender and funny story of a young woman's blossoming, Windchill Summer blends a compassionate look at the turmoil of the sixties with a nostalgic dream of small-town life. Norris Church Mailer is an astonishingly fresh voice in American fiction.