It's been way too long, but who knew that moving (and remodeling) would be so much work? And I'm not even the one doing the work. But being stuck supervising the construction site I call home right now also means a lot of reading time. And most of that time was spend in the '80s:
Five boys, one deadly secret, and a mysterious summer – The Boys of Summer might be the best Stephen King book not written by King. It follows a group of boys who live through the monster tornado that hit Wichita Falls in 1977. A few years later the boys—now teenagers—are forever bound together by another horrific event that follows them into adulthood.
Richard Cox tells the story in multiple timelines and switches back and forth between the '70s, the '80s, and present day. The book is also rather hard to qualify. It is science fiction but not really. There are thriller elements but it's also a coming of age story. And those who are worried that it's just a Stephen King rip-off will be pleased to hear that it's also sprinkled with a good dose of Southern Gothic elements.
I found the book on a 10 things to read if you enjoyed Stranger Things list, and while the plot has little resemblance to the Netflix hit, it does get the vibe right. If you enjoy Stephen King, Stranger Things and anything '80s, then slick that hair back, put those wayfarers on and check out The Boys of Summer.
If The Boys of Summer is the literary equivalent to Stranger Things, then The Impossible Fortress is The Goldbergs. The year is 1987, the players are three teenage outcasts – Billy, Alf, and Clark – and the great prize is a copy of Playboy, the copy that features local celebrity and wheel of fortune host Vanna White to be specific.
The impossible Fortress reminds of an '80s sitcom in the best way possible. It's hilarious but touching. There are twists around every corner (especially one that shocked me more than the protagonist himself). And between the playboy heist plot, the love story, and a part that almost feels like a Goonies like adventure there's really something for everyone – even a playlist at the back of the book (all authors should do this!)
LifeMoves Pretty Fast: The Lessons We Learned From Eighties Movies (AndWhy We Don't Learn Them Any More) by Hadley Freeman
I know non-fiction is not for everyone but Freeman's essays on the lessons we learned from beloved classics, like Dirty Dancing, The Princess Bride, Pretty in Pink, When Harry Met Sally, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Steel Magnolias and Back to the Future are as witty and charming as those movies themselves. That said, I did not agree with everything Freeman addresses (particularly her understanding of current films felt a little off), but her arguments kept me interested. And, personally, I'm always intrigued by opinions that differ from my own. Overall, Life Moves Pretty Fast is a fun and quick read for anyone who is a fan of '80s movies, just remember that it's mostly based on Freeman's own opinions and experiences and not fact.
Do you have a favorite Eighties themed book?
Peace, Love and Lobsters