- File Size: 4169 KB
- Print Length: 225 pages
- Publisher: Schiller & Wells, Ltd. - A Division of Stay Thirsty Media, Inc. (October 14, 2009)
- Publication Date: October 14, 2009
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B002T44IEE
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #767,547 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
FORTY YEARS LATER (David Grossman Series Book 1) Kindle Edition
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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It was the universal chant yelled out car windows at every traffic light stop in New York City during the early summer of 1969 and it was the foreshadowing that 400,000 young people would soon descend on Yasgur's farm in the summer resort mecca of the Catskill Mountains for three days of music, love, and mud.
Eighteen at the time, I was not going to Woodstock, but I was going to be there - down one of the humanity and traffic choked country roads, at the bungalow colony my parents owned. So of course I was destined to immediately bond with David Grossman, the protagonist of Forty Years Later, a novel by Steven Jay Griffel.
A likeable and successful middle class guy, David has an enviable life: a career in publishing, an impressive salary, an attractive and talented wife, and two attractive and successful daughters. However, like all of us, he has a few life regrets: like me, he never made it to Woodstock, but most importantly, he never "made it" with Jill Black, his first teenage summer crush, the bungalow colony beauty who did make it to Woodstock.
Now, forty years later, David has an opportunity to reunite with Jill and possibly answer the question, "What if?" Since we all have a few "what ifs" in our lives, of course we are eager to stay with David and find out.
Those of us who were Catskills resort kids during the heyday of that mountains mecca will enjoy this opportunity to revisit a time and place that we love. Those of us who were, or wished we were, at Woodstock will understand the impact that single event had on shaping a generation's psyche. But all of us will feel for David's attempt to recapture and navigate the adolescent feelings he had for Jill and his desire to find out if she was "the one."
Please note, however, that this is not a "heavy" read that wallows in emotions. The book has a wonderfully light and breezy narrative style and the writer displays a great sense of humor that often invites us to join his protagonist in realizing how comical his own thoughts and actions are.
At this point I have read about two -thirds of the novel. I am eager to finish it, but today had the realization that next week Woodstock celebrates its 44th anniversary and I thought I would share that Griffel's Forty Years Later is the perfect way to get in the mood!
First, Steven Griffel succeeds in taking me back to my own 'Woodstock', evoking feelings of my innocent, bittersweet coming of age at that powerful time - the delicious, overwhelming, confusing feelings of first young mercurial attraction and the burgeoning sense of youthful wonder and excitement for the colorful world of music, people, and counter-culture trickling into my dawning awareness.
Secondly, being on the young-edge cusp of the Woodstock generation I also missed 'being there'. Sheltered in a small upstate New York town just a couple hours from the concert, for me Woodstock was sitting by the glowing dial of our old Zenith console radio (vacuum tubes!) listening to the local station re-broadcast updates off the UPI news wire sounding as ephemeral and distant as those coming in from Vietnam (no YouTube, Facebook, twitter, or iPhone). In youthful naivety I didn't actually know where Woodstock was and for years had no idea I was actually next door to where it all happened! Although I've now driven to the site, it was "Forty Years Later" which brought me back and filled in the blanks, as I read adding context to those murky fragmented radio dispatches and giving me the long-delayed pleasure of a more visceral sense of this powerful happening.
Able to easily relate to the protagonist as a man of the same generation, I found the characters engaging and vivid. My only puzzlement was a sudden nascent trait in one of the major characters toward the end. I'm curious at Steven's choice.
This book is definitely one for the boomers, yet its theme is universally appealing and story heartfelt - how the powerful experiences of our childhood become the genesis of a thread of lifelong desire to make peace with the what-ifs left by our choices, to integrate the lingering poignant loss of roads not taken, to make bittersweet the regrets of paradise lost, and as an adult now choose from values acquired only through these experiences - integrity, fidelity, and a sense of the continuity of life, these all forming who we ultimately become.
While it was tough going to find a particularly sympathetic character in "Jill", (she seems to have some rather nasty underpinnings), she is nonetheless very well-drawn (you may not like her much, but you're still intrigued to see what she does next -- will she actually kill someone?!); I like "David" as I have in the other two David Grossman books. David is very human, he makes mistakes, but he cares about the people around him.
His panic when he believes that Jill is going to murder her producer (and attempt to implement him in the process) is truly hilarious -- I could competely see this in a film sequence. Film rights, anyone? This would be a fun one!