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The Bull Years [Kindle Edition]

Phil Stern
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $3.75
 
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Book Description

At what point in life have you officially not made it?

For Steve, Sophia, Dave, and Brooke, life hasn't turned out as planned. Rather than easy fame and fortune, these happy-go-lucky 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, all they want is to reverse their gradual alienation from life and one another, reconnecting with their earlier, innocent selves.

But there's a catch. Before any of them can move forward, they must collectively confront that one outrageous night back in college that first drove them apart, revealing secrets potentially shattering everything they ever were.

Here is Phil Stern's classic, unabridged novel chronicling the bumpy road many in Generation X took through their 20's and 30's. A blend of hard-edged Contemporary Fiction and raw satire, the narrative will resonate quite strongly with anyone who's struggled to find their way, while also remaining true to themselves.

So if you've ever wondered why life is so much harder than you ever dreamed, the promised land always just out of reach, then The Bull Years is an experience not to be missed.


Editorial Reviews

Review

"I LOVED IT! Captivating from the first paragraph." Eileen, Kindle reviewer

"Phil Stern writes with an incredibly sharp wit." The Ink Puddle

"From the very first line I was hooked. I kept turning the pages faster to finally find out what happened to drive these friends apart. It did not disappoint."
Karen DeLabar, author and reviewer

"I would recommend it for anyone with a very dark sense of humor, or anyone who loves a story with strong characterization and a gritty edge." Lou Wellman of the UK Kindle Users Forum

"The views that these guys have about life are so inspiring that one is compelled to highlight them. Honestly, you don't feel like putting the book down! Once you start off, it sure is difficult to stop." The Readdicts

"I found it really well written and very funny." Alison, independent reviewer

Product Details

  • File Size: 621 KB
  • Print Length: 335 pages
  • Publisher: Phil Stern; 3rd edition (June 2, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004O0U34K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #424,863 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun and Interesting Read From the Start October 31, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
From the very first line I was hooked, "At what point in life have you officially not made it?" Who hasn't asked themselves that question?

Phil Stern takes us into the lives of four very different people in "The Bull Years." Taking a writing assignment called "The Life Project" Steve Levine, and three friends, write down recollections and stories from their lives, all questioning what is success? What is it that makes you who you are? How do you "make it" in anything?

Stern did an impressive job of capturing four very different personas and voices. He didn't stray away from taboo subjects and he let his characters have real opinions, sometimes harsh, sometimes hard to read, but they were honest, flawed. Yes, there are teachers out there that don't like children and are not always pc with their choice of definitions. That's life. He captured reality.

The stories also revolved around one incident that happened at the tail end of college that was kept hidden until the end of the novel. I kept turning the pages faster to finally find out what happened to drive these friends a part. It did not disappoint.

Life is messy, life is cruel and life is confusing and not to sound too morbid, but no one gets out alive. We're all just here trying to figure things out; no one has a handle on it any more than the next person. Stern proves that with his novel.

My only problem with the book was as the story progressed I found grammatical errors that could have easily been fixed. The errors became frequent towards the end and at one point took me out of the story. Luckily the story was so good I quickly fell back in step with it.

The epilogue was an interesting twist so I won't go into detail about it here, you'll have to read it to find out how. But I thought it was very creative of Stern to end the novel on such a note because after all, writing anything down is subject for future study.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Superfluous character September 12, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Why on earth did the author insert the character of Hayley Sykes into an otherwise great novel?
The interconnection of all of the other narratives is so rich. Those characters share a common past. Sykes is much younger than the principal character, just happens to live in his building, and is incredibly shallow and offensive.
The author does a great job of teasing us along throughot he book, wondering what happened to these college chums to drive them all apart.
One of the best reads I've picked up on Amazon for Kindle, although it does suffer slightly from the issue I've found with many works there: the inability to distinguish between the plural and the possessive, particularly when referring to couples or families.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Never judge a book by its cover January 10, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
The old adage goes 'Never judge a book by its cover.' It actually refers to making assumptions about a person based on their looks, but in this case you can take it literally. The back blurb of The Bull Years intrigued me but the cover didn't grab me at all. It looked like it was going to be the life story of a Russian porn star. Luckily for me I ignored my assumptions and decided to give the book a read. You know what they say - assume makes an ass of u and me. I would have been an ass if I didn't read this book based on its cover. The Bull Years was surprisingly good.

Not being one for reading fantasy, vampire novels, horror and science fiction, The Bull Years was exactly what I like - realistic fiction. Realistic Contemporary Fiction. The story is written from the points of view of four well-developed, utterly believable characters. They are brought together by Steve Levine to participate in his 'Life Project.' They have to go back into their past and confront one life-defining night at college which split their friendship and drove them apart. The story covers two decades of their lives, interweaving each character's story together so that you end up with an excellent commentary of a generation.

The sad fact of life is that the grandiose dreams you had at college remain just that. Grandiose dreams. Life is full of disappointments, relationships and jobs that never work out as planned. Phil Stern manages to portray that brilliantly in The Bull Years. While some parts might be a little dark, it is spiced with a wicked sense of humour that will have you chuckling out loud.
The last paragraph of the novel was quite poignant. "So never think it's too late, or that your own life ultimately doesn't matter. Because who knows?
Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Bull Years February 19, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
The Bull Years, a novel by Phil Stern, explores the lives of four friends who grew up together, and grew apart alone. The story unfolds from all four points of view, talking about how real life operates, and how everything isn't always quite how you expected it to be.

I feel like I was in an interesting position to read this novel. Primarily, it is about 40-somethings reflecting on their 20's. I'm the guy in his 20's, reading and hoping I'll never have to have these same conversations with myself.

The Bull Years is good. Not because of how it unfolds, or how it is written, but because of what it is. It's an honest, brutal, no holds barred look at the American Dream and the people who live it day in and day out. It's a book that really makes you consider what you've done in the world, or, like me, makes you contemplate what you want to do.

Phil Stern writes with a quick tongue and incredibly sharp wit, which is what makes passages like the one above (highlighted on my kindle now just so I can revisit it) such a joy to read. The book isn't strictly abrasive, as it often finds time to make comments on our social status, to the point that I'm laughing because I feel like I'm people watching anywhere around my town. And that, I think is what Phil does best. He takes a writing style with so much satirical tone, and brings it to topics and stories and things that are universally relatable. You genuinely feel for these characters, which is vital for the story to matter.

As far as the full story goes, I won't spoil it. It's available everywhere, and I would STRONGLY suggest you pick it up if my review has left you with even an inkling of interest. I'm sure you'll love it. I know I did.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Where has grammar gone?
There were so many grammatical errors in this book (my mom was a school teacher) which made it hard to read and stay focused on the content!
Published 6 months ago by Tess
1.0 out of 5 stars Entirely Male Perspective
This book provides an entirely male perspective, even from the female characters. There is justification of men cheating, a stupid wife, a wife who isn't satisfied with her... Read more
Published 7 months ago by balex06
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious and Insightful
Interesting story written by a master story-teller. His chapter on CLODs (Chronically Lost Overwhelmed Dummies) who he describes as "an underclass of people who are... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Carol A. Kryder
4.0 out of 5 stars A Tough Read...But Still A Good One.
Phil Stern's "The Bull Years" is a story about four people who were good friends in college until one major incident drove them apart. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Dustin Fontenot
5.0 out of 5 stars A CAPTIVATING STORY!!!
At first, I was skeptical reading this book. I was looking at the cover and title (yes, judging a book by its cover) and thought it might be lackluster. Phil Stern proved me wrong! Read more
Published 18 months ago by alexandra
3.0 out of 5 stars READABLE
The beginning refers to something that happened to college friends that tore them apart. I was expecting some massive releal but felt let down by what it was. Read more
Published 19 months ago by lovestoread
4.0 out of 5 stars Really Quirky and Funny
This is a pretty interesting novel that follows the disappointing lives of three "used-to-be" friends (the fourth couldn't be contacted, so Steve finds a stand-in). Read more
Published 23 months ago by A Book Vacation
5.0 out of 5 stars A good relaxing read... you just might look deeper at yourself after...
This review is long overdue as I have been busy and not made time, like I should, to relax a bit and read a book. I'm glad I chose this book as it was a relaxing read. Read more
Published on August 7, 2012 by Russ D
4.0 out of 5 stars Not sure how to rate this one.....
I enjoyed the writing, and I enjoyed the characters, even if I didn't agree with some of the female narratives (tough for a male author to completely capture a female voice, and... Read more
Published on July 3, 2012 by Canadian reader
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read, some minor distracting errors.
I loved the flow-of-consciousness style of this book, and the juxtaposed viewpoints of different characters to the same events. Read more
Published on March 26, 2012 by Captain Gonzo
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More About the Author

Phil Stern is a former talk show host who now writes both Science Fiction and Modern Edge (The Bull Years). He splits his time between Florida and New York.

Please feel free to visit the Phil Stern Author Page on Facebook (goo.gl/YX7ED) or drop by www.philstern.com.

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