Even the Losers: A Saga from the Summer of 1980
Reviewed By: Susan Keefe
Susan Keefe reviews and promotes poetry, fiction and non-fiction, and is also author of the Toby's Tails series of children's books.
A wonderful coming-of-age adventure set in the summer of 1980.
After reading ‘Remember the Future,’ I couldn’t wait to download this latest book by this talented author. This excellent story is set in Texas where the author was born and raised. In it, Bryant Delafosse who holds a degree from the University of Texas at Austin and is a screenwriter, now living in Southern California, takes his readers on the coming-of-age journey of Neil Thibodeaux which takes place through the summer of 1980.
Neil lives with his short-tempered dad and bully of an older brother in Houston Texas, however, the day our adventure begins is Monday 5th May, memorable, not only because it is Neil’s 17th birthday, but also because it is the day he is being torn from his friends and everything he knows to move across state and live in Philton, in his words, the ‘butt-crack’ of the State of Texas.
At his new job (the cause for the move) Neil’s dad has found him work, however, Neil has other ideas and finds himself a job working in the local movie theatre, the Lone Star Six. He is interviewed by a jaw-dropping beauty Cecilia, or CC as she is known, and instantly Neil has a crush on her. However love seldom comes easy and is sometimes not reciprocated, so Neil can only look on and hope his time will come, whilst enjoying his new friends and work colleagues at the theatre.
And so the summer begins. At home, things have never been the same since the death of his mom. His father and the two brothers are both struggling to cope with the loss in their own ways. Jake is off the rails, angry and resentful, and sibling rivalry is strong, making life hard, and even more stressful for their hard-working dad.
However, this is the summer of 1980, a summer of great music like AC/DC’s Highway to Hell, and incredible films including the much anticipated new box office hit, which is now considered the best Star Wars movie of all time, The Empire Strikes Back. When it arrives in Philton it causes a stir and the theatre has record sales. Neil is loving his job and has been promoted to the projectionist, and the author uses his own memories of working as a movie projectionist to add special touches to Neil’s experiences in the story. I challenge anyone who was alive in 1980 not to be transported back in time by their own wonderful memories this story evokes.
Like any teenager, Neil dreams of driving, and owning his own car, getting a girl and having fun, however these things are not always easy or straightforward to achieve. Yet through the authors wonderfully descriptive writing, we join Neil on the rollercoaster of life lessons which he learns that summer. Whether it is harsh realities, loves found and lost, friendships, or dreams, we spend this summer with him having fun, laughing and crying with him as his future begins to unfold, and starts to reveal the opportunities to come…
In Summary: A wonderfully nostalgic coming of age story, written sensitively and in a thought-provoking way by this talented author.