Published by Tule Publishing on May 5, 2020
Source: the author
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Her wild and vivid visions inspire an icon…
Nothing is more important to prim, colorblind Dolors Posa than family and living down the shame of her illegitimate birth, but when the sudden onset of fantastical visions threaten her sterling reputation, she must search for answers before the inhabitants of the tiny village of Cadaqués brand her as demente– crazy like her mother. In a quest to stop her hallucinations, she befriends a beautiful, intoxicating fortune teller and her handsome anarchist brother, as well as becoming a reluctant muse for thirteen-year-old Salvador Dali. In a summer that changes everything, Dolors must choose between her family’s reputation and a life filled with adventure, friendship, rapturous color and the possibility of love.
Set against the political upheaval of 1917 Spain, Dali Summer captures the fierce spirit of Catalonia, the generosity and stubbornness of its people and the blossoming promise of a woman who thought life was bland and empty and had long ago had passed her by.
I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I chose to read this book when it was offered to me for review because the main character is colorblind. I have a son that is colorblind and I struggle to understand exactly what he is seeing through his eyes. I was hoping that through Dolors’ perspective, I could begin to understand a little better what my boy sees in terms of color. (And I think it worked-I do understand a little better, actually.)
Anyway, this is Dolors Posa’s story, which takes place in 1917. Dolors has been raised in the house of her grandmother, her father’s mother, who does not love her and isn’t very nice to her at all. Dolors’ mother gave birth to her out of wedlock and then a great tragedy happened. Dolors has always moved about in the world trying not to stand out, hoping to blend in to her surroundings. She has always wanted to distance herself from her mother and her shame, and this influences everything she does, says, thinks, etc.
This particular summer, Dolors begins to take risks and step outside of herself a little bit. She meets some new friends and begins to care less what other people think of her. She becomes more independent around the house and starts to stand up to her grandmother. And she begins to have some hallucinations or visions that challenge everything she knows about the world around her, including colors.
People begin noticing Dolors.
I love that the author chose to include Dolors’ feelings about her black, gray, and white world into the narrative as the story moves along. It is important to know how Dolors views things literally so that we can understand how huge it is for her when she begins to discover herself. I love stories where women are at a crossroads in their lives, having to decide whether or not to take risks or stay on a safe path. Dolors makes some bold choices given the time and the expectations on her, and I loved watching her take that journey.
I love the setting of Dali Summer in terms of time and place. In the story, there are a few cars out and about, but people are still walking mostly everywhere. They still dress a certain way. It really did have this early 1900’s Spanish/European feel as I read, and I loved that.
The best thing for me, personally, about this story is the expanded view into the world of a colorblind person, but aside from that: I loved the way Dolors really began to explore her family, what family has meant for her in her past, and how emboldening herself challenges her uncomfortable place in her own family. Stories of family and siblings are some of my favorites, and I appreciate the relationships in this one so much. The story read quickly and genuinely did feel like a window into another world.
It was also really cool that young Salvador Dali was in the story.