Best Year of our Lives, a Book Review

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… Read more

Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars

by John Green — Young Adult/Adult Review by Susan L Stewart People who don’t write novels for a living have no idea just what goes on in front of the computer while the author breathes life into his characters. Hundreds of decisions have to be made along the way: what is he wearing, does she like it, what does he say next, how does she respond and does her response further the conversation or shut it down? What’s happens next? and next? and next? Over and over this author, John Green, makes powerful decisions. His gentle, unsentimental recording of conversations, situations and mental and physical conditions is exquisite. Do some teenagers really reach that depth of understanding of the world and how it has worked for thousands of years? I believe so. I hope so. “The Fault in Our Stars” follows two teenagers as they form a relationship despite the fact that they both have cancer. Their illness brings with it a level of… Read more