Friday, August 3, 2012

The Bull Years

The Bull Years by Phil Stern

What would your 20-year-old self think of the 40-year-old you’ve become?

For Steve, Sophia, Dave, and Brooke, life hasn’t turned out as planned. Rather than easy fame and fortune, these four teenagers of the 1980's found young adulthood a mystifying series of dead-end jobs, failed relationships, family scandal, and surging frustration.

Now approaching middle age, these one-time close college friends want to reverse their gradual alienation from life and one another, reconnecting with their earlier, innocent selves.

But there’s only one problem. Before any of them can move forward, they must collectively confront the outrageous night that first drove them apart, revealing secrets potentially shattering everything they ever were.

Phil Stern’s groundbreaking novel explodes the traditional paradigm of success and failure in modern-day life, exposing the churning emotional turmoil of middle-class America at the dawn of the new millennium. Nothing is out of bounds in this stunning, often hilarious, and ultimately uplifting look within the secret lives of what is surely America’s Most Disillusioned Generation.

--The Bull Years
by Phil Stern
Copyright © 2011 by Phil Stern

My Review

Imagine yourself at your 20th High School reunion. You’re looking at the yearbook, thinking back on the plans you had for your life, all your dreams and ambitions. Then you glance up into a mirror hanging on the wall, seeing your reflection and thinking “what the hell happened?”

Steve, Sophia, Dave and Brooke aren’t at their reunion, but they are taking a good hard look at their lives and trying to figure out “what the hell happened.” Told in first person by each character, Steve, Sophia and Dave talk about the various watershed moments in their lives, the things that happened that helped make them the people they are today. At times funny, at times heart wrenching, and at times a little scary (seriously, Dave’s ex-wife is that scary-crazy-manipulative type of person you hope never gets involved in your life), this contemporary tale of every-day life will make you sit back and wonder what happened in your “bull years” and why you aren’t where you thought you’d be.

What, me? Oh, back in high school, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I had some half-formed dreams of being a writer or a psychiatrist, but figured I’d probably spend the rest of my life as an office worker. And for a long time, that prediction came true. But I’m doing other things now and slowly pursuing my writing dreams. Could I tell stories like these? In some cases, yes. And those, my friends, will remain my secret. Unless I feel like writing about them…someday.

I give this story THREE and a HALF STARS.

No comments: