In this sequel to Bread Bags and Bullies, which was set during school winter break of 1984 during a late Nor’easter in New England, readers will again enjoy the antics of the three brothers now during the summer of 1984.
The author shares why he wrote this follow-up novel.
“In twenty-five years of writing fiction, I’ve never written a sequel—until now. At my core, I am a storyteller, and there are times when a story requires a bit more real estate than a single novel. Lawn Darts & Lemonade is one of those stories.
With many more lessons to learn—and fears to overcome—Wally, Herbie, and Cockroach step into the unforgettable summer of 1984.
Within each comical passage and every heartfelt scene, Lawn Darts & Lemonade is a tribute to my greatest heroes—my mother and father—who believed it was their job to raise me and my siblings. Thankfully, they took their job very seriously and worked hard at it.
My siblings and I are eternally grateful to them both.
Enjoy the stroll down memory lane,”
Chapter one begins in the present day with the now grown men grieving the death of their father. As a close-knit family with their mother, they celebrate the man’s life through the sharing of their family memories.
“‘To be loved this much by so many people…’ I paused to compose myself. ‘…now that’s what I call a successful life.’ I’d been reduced to an eight-year-old again, feeling lost—even orphaned. Losing my dad was wreaking havoc on my inner child, making me feel panicked. Failing miserably at concealing this, I raised my glass and was immediately joined by my mom, my wife and children, my siblings, nieces, and nephews: the family my mother and father had created.
I pictured my dad’s smiling face. ‘I did this,’ Pop used to say, referring to our family. As a dad myself, I now understood the incredible pride that the old man carried with him. Family is the whole shebang, he’d say. Everything else is a distant second.’”
It’s May 1984 in chapter two, beginning the story of that summer. As readers engulf themselves in much simpler times, getting to step back in time to relive the summer with the boys.
“It was the last day of school, Friday, May 25, 1984. Winter had melted into spring and, although most days felt like they went on forever, spring was finally giving way to summer. The black rubber boots, lined with bread bags, had long been tossed into the closet, along with our green snorkel coats.”
The well-done dialogue allows listening in on the boys. Realistic descriptions recreate their experiences evoking the sights of them dodging lawn darts in the back yard and summer excursions in the neighborhood to the taste of watered-down Country Time lemonade mix, the “healthier” drink from their Kool-Aid during the rest of the year.
The author, as he has done before, has a writing style that brings the boys’ adventures alive, told from the perspective of a father now with sons of his own.
While it’s a wonderful continuation of their story, the author shows his talent as a storyteller in making this an enticing stand-alone novel on its own. Readers new to the story will have an enjoyable read that will be satisfying, but this reviewer anticipates they will want to go back to the original story, too.