The Best Year of our Lives by Phil Andrews
I just finished reading “The Best Year of Our Lives: Growing up in the 1970s” by Phil Andrews. It is a semi-autobiographical book that I’m never sure I’m going to like. This one, however, was one of the best! As a writer and editor, I am very impressed with this debut novel.
I wasn’t sure I was going to like the book when I first started it because it is very British and there were things in the story that I didn’t understand. However, the exceptional quality of the writing and the excellent characterizations kept my interest.
The story is set in 1976, two years after I got married. I remember the time well, although from an American instead of British viewpoint. I actually found those differences interesting and entertaining. The music was different – except for the megastars like Bowie and the Stones – but I remember cassette players, widely flared jeans and platform shoes.
The biggest difference in the novel from my personal experience was how close the main character’s “gang” was even though some of the gang were only 11 years old. They met weekly at their club to talk, play pinball and make plans. My friends and I were never that close or organized. It was those very differences between my American and the author’s British experience that I enjoyed the most. I highly recommend it!