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The Grievers is a darkly comic coming of age novel for a generation that's still struggling to come of age.When Charley Schwartz learns that an old high school pal has killed himself, he agrees to help his alma matter organize a memorial service to honor his fallen comrade. Soon, however, devastation turns to disgust as Charley discovers that his friend's passing means lesThe Grievers is a darkly comic coming of age novel for a generation that's still struggling to come of age.When Charley Schwartz learns that an old high school pal has killed himself, he agrees to help his alma matter organize a memorial service to honor his fallen comrade. Soon, however, devastation turns to disgust as Charley discovers that his friend's passing means less to the school than the bottom line. As the memorial service quickly degenerates into a fundraising fiasco, Charley must also deal with a host of other quandaries including a dead-end job as an anthropomorphic dollar sign, his best friend's imminent move to Maryland, an intervention with a drug-addled megalomaniac, and his own ongoing crusade to enforce the proper use of apostrophes among the proprietors of local dining establishments. Desperate to set the world right and keep his own life from spiraling out of control, Charley rages through his days and nights, plotting all the while the ultimate eulogy for his deceased friend and a scathing indictment of a world gone wrong....

Title : The Grievers
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781579622633
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 176 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Grievers Reviews

  • Monica
    2019-01-20 07:13

    Instead of posting a typical review, I'm going to post the letter that I wrote to Marc after I finished reading The Grievers. I hope he won't mind that I'm doing this. Marc: I finished The Grievers – all in one sitting, five straight hours (with a short pause for dinner). First, I want to thank you for letting me read the book in advance of its release. Second, I would like to share some thoughts that I hope you don’t mind reading. I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that this story – some or all – happened to you in real life. I know it’s not very academic to conflate the author and the narrator, but I’m going to defy convention and do just that. So, if this story is true, I’m sorry. I’m sorry that you lost a friend unexpectedly at a young age. I’m sorry that there are people who exploit death and sadness in ridiculous ways. I’m sorry that human beings are unable to prevent and deal with sudden loss. What’s even more un-academic, I suppose, is my completely self-centered and emotional reaction to the novel. I’m sure you’re going to hear this a lot when the book is released more widely, but allow me to maybe, possibly be one of the first to say it: I, too, had a high school friend who died in an untimely, tragic, and completely preventable way. His name was Kyle Chin, so you can imagine my gasp upon reading your character’s name. Our friendship was much the same as Charley and Billy’s in that we were friends but not really. Kyle and I ran with similar circles and often hung out together more by chance than intent. But, when I think of some of my favorite memories from high school, Kyle is always somewhere in that mental picture. I haven’t thought about Kyle in almost a decade, and I think that I needed to revisit the issue. I was nineteen when Kyle died, and I think at the time I still felt that I had my whole life in front of me. So, I’m not sure his death spurred any thoughts of having to “be something,” as is Charley’s reaction. But, I could certainly identify with other elements surrounding the death, for example, the different ways that people grieve. I had some friends who wouldn’t go see Kyle in the hospital before he died or wouldn’t go to the funeral when he did. There were others who went on drinking/drug binges in honor of one of our craziest, party-animal friends. There were some who sat quietly at my kitchen table and cried in my mother’s arms as she tried to console all of us the day his parents decided to extract the breathing tube that was keeping Kyle alive. And, even though Kyle’s death really didn’t force us to look at our own mortality (because we were still so young, and none of us had really done anything of note yet), I think the mutual feeling that we all shared that day is best described by some of the imagery in your book – the wallpaper, the broken down houses in North Philly, the vacant lots where row homes or factories once stood. What we all felt was that Kyle had, at one point, been here. He had stood on this earth and decorated our lives, and here we were trying to figure out a way to paint over it, to put up a parking lot, to scrape away the residue of what he left behind for us. He was here, and then he wasn’t. And, I was mad. I was mad at him for being so stupid, so careless, so crazy. In fact, the way he died pretty much mirrored the way he lived, and I was mad at myself for not thinking or expecting that his death, in this way, was imminent. But how can we think that? How can we ever believe that someone will die? If we always thought about how we are eventually going to lose those we care about, we’d never form any relationships at all. So, we don’t think about it. Which is exactly what makes it such a sucker-punch when it happens. In terms of the book itself, separating the personal out, I think that this is the kind of contemporary fiction people (or, at least, I) want to read. It’s honest, complex, smart, funny, and emotional. The characters are flawed but not unlikeable. In fact, every one of them, even Frank, is endearing in some way. They are all simultaneously unique and common, which I think makes the book so easy to digest and enjoy. You’ve shown that it’s possible to take a critical look at the world and the self without reducing humanity down to a bunch of sniveling idiots with credit cards. I loved this book, Marc. More, I needed this book. And, I want to say thanks for your willingness and audacity to share what I perceive as the actual emotions, insecurities, and hopes that you were feeling during that time and maybe even still experiencing. I think a lot of people are going to relate to this book. Not only are they going to relate, they’re going to feel that connection that humans long for. They’re going to read this and contact old friends or flames. They’re going to reach out to someone, say “I love you” to someone, or simply return a phone call. It’s going to be powerful. I believe that. Monica

  • Jessica Cocita
    2019-02-20 07:57

    Schuster's novel provides readers with a mirror of those aspects of themselves with which they may have trouble dealing. Charley Schwartz, the protagonist, is stuck in a limbo of sorts between childhood and adulthood. He has assumed a variety of adult responsibilities, but he continues to approach them with a very childlike (or at least adolesent-like) naivete. He refuses to take things seriously when he should, and he takes too seriously the very things he shouldn't. While in theory this may seem an annoying habit, it actually makes Charley endearing to readers. We find in him someone with whom we can empathize, someone on whose side we want to be. There is a character for everyone in this book. All readers will be able to see parts of themselves in one character or another, which makes this book one with which we can commiserate, rather than one into which we want to escape. In the end, The Grievers is a successful novel because it allows readers to accept the uncertainties that come with growing up, and it doesn't pass judgement on those of us (everyone?) who have questioned the path we've chosen and the decisions we've made at one point or another.

  • Sheila
    2019-02-09 04:12

    Like the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral, Marc Schuster’s The Grievers blends the post-juvenile humor of adults refusing to grow up with aching pathos and biting touches of genius. By the final memorial service for Billy Chin, the reader knows everything is bound to go wrong, and that somehow it will all turn out right. We’re reading. We trust the writer and driver of this tale. And dysfunctional Charley’s finally taking the wheel.A satisfying story on many different levels, The Grievers starts with a phone call from Billy’s mother, telling Charley his old school friend has killed himself. Meanwhile Charley is killing his hopes and his marriage with neglect. And “working at a bank” means dressing in a shiny foam dollar sign to wave at drivers from the grass.If you think this sounds depressing, you just have to wait for Charley to lose his footing when the sprinklers come on. Or listen to his friend quote Marx brothers movies. Or ride along on a failed intervention when another friend falls off the rails. Comedy travels hand in hand with tragedy in this novel, neither any further away than the next page, but both singing in tune.In soaps the dead can rise again, saved by mistaken identity. In real life, true identity might be revealed in the mourning process. Billy’s death just might help Charley finally recognize himself. And the Henry Avenue Bridge in Philadelphia might reveal a different view when Charley learns to follow the road.Disclosure: I received a free bound galley of this novel from the Permanent Press in exchange for my honest review.

  • Lavinia Ludlow
    2019-02-03 05:14

    Phenomenal. Review over at The Nervous Breakdown:http://www.thenervousbreakdown.com/ll...

  • F. P. Dorchak
    2019-01-25 05:10

    He had me at the cover.I mean, isn’t it cool? Black background...red balloon...white clown glove.What’s not to love?And the title. The font of the title....But, is the cover evocative of all kinds of quirky, impending highjinks...or merely a clever ruse to get one to buy his book?The Grievers, penned by Marc Schuster (Permanent Press, May 2012) is about the loss of a sometime friend and how it affects one Charley Schwartz (who, despite what everyone seems to think, is not Jewish...), a conflicted, angst-ridden human dollar sign for an unnamed bank of somewhat regional repute, champion of correct-and-proper apostrophe use, who’s (checking...checking...) actually a sarcastically quick-of-wit doctoral student (not) working on his thesis, and who’s (still checking...) married to a wife in a constant state of quiet Freudian interior design demolition. To grow up or not grow up. Quit the job or not quit the job. Move forward...or continue allowing oneself to be inexorably run over by life’s daily and unrelenting--even dark--minutiae.To be utterly blunt if not politically incorrect, this book had me laughing my ass off. I laughed so hard my eyes watered and several times had to temporarily suspend reading. My wife even pulled out the camera and recorded me in the throes of my literary hysterics.Suicide--in and of itself--is no laughing matter, but it’s how the world responds to such Human Drama that can be the stuff of comedy--black or otherwise. Charley knew the deceased (Billy--his name’s Billy Chin). Well Kinda. They’d gone to prep school together, shared a dead cat in biology lab, as well as some twisted pop lyrics, as conveyed by another classmate...not to mention some shared looks at the deceased’s (Billy, his name’s--) stitched and razor-tracked forearm later in life. After the fact, Charley felt shame and remorse in not having been a better friend...in identifying nor taking action regarding his friend’s ultimate demise.The Grievers was like watching a comedic train wreck. A miniature Theater of the Absurd. Mr. Schuster wove together the interestingly obtuse into a coherent and redemptive storyline that was a pure joy to read (and I don’t use the word “joy” much!). I enjoyed his words, their combination, their execution. The Grievers is controlled dysfunction. Keeping life safe and at arm’s length. Everything is a joke to Charley Schwartz until he embarks on his own form of revisionist history with the deceased (Billy Chin, dang it...). Yet, the book is not so much about all the individual events...the coming of age (at 28)...the seemingly utter bottom line of life (money)...friendship (or what friendship should be)...dissecting a cat named Fascia in biology class (and correctly identifying cat parts)...Marx Brothers, taking a flying leap, nor even anthropomorphic dollar signs. It’s about what it is to be human. It’s about the gestalt effect of the whole...meshugaas...on individuals.No. He’s not Jewish. The Grievers is an enjoyable way to spend a Sunday afternoon! And--whether or not Mr. Schuster intended this--there’s also something altogether metaphysical about Charley’s daily entrapment within said anthropomorphic dollar sign, being constantly bowled over by the “traffic of life” onto a soggy and wet lawn (and is it “just” a soggy and wet lawn...or is it a metaphor for his own soggy and waterlogged life...), unable to pick himself up on his own. Always having to use others to get things done (not to mention verbally abusing them along the way...). You’d think he could stand on his own two feet...pull his own weight...somewhere...but that’d be asking too much. He’d rather make life difficult. Crack a joke or three. The whole thing’s rather stunted...passive/aggressive even...but it’s too much to ask Charley to grow a pair, because, well, he obviously has challenges in that department identifying the correct and proper body parts, as evidenced in prep-school biology lab. Well...at least his heart’s in the right place.

  • Katie Hilton
    2019-02-20 08:10

    I was lucky enough to read an advanced copy of this book thanks to a Goodreads Giveaway. I was immediately taken with the subject matter of the story, which is the reason why I entered the giveaway in the first place. “When Charley Schwartz learns that an old high school pal has committed suicide, he agrees to help his alma mater organize a memorial service to honor his friend’s memory…”This is the first Marc Schuster book that I’ve read and I cannot wait to read any other work he’s ever produced. It was a quick, easy read and I was so anxious to see what would happen next that I found myself trying to carve time out of my busy schedule to create any extra reading time that I could.With his gift of description and details, Schuster gives life to the intimate details of relationships between husbands and wives, old friends, best friends, good friends, and acquaintances who try hard to be good friends. All of his characters are just so real. Perhaps I connected with them because I am the same age—okay, just a little older. The group of friends in this story put the ‘fun’ in dysfunctional. There is the ‘solid as a rock’ one that holds the group together (Neil) and an ’off-the-charts crazy one with a drug problem’ (Greg). There is also the ‘I screw everything up’ self-absorbed one who constantly sets himself up for failure (the main character, Charley) and the ‘steadfast responsible citizen’ friend who is in the group but not necessarily the center of the group (Dwayne).In addition, I think Marc Schuster also truly captures the effect suicide can have on an individual. The suicide death of a loved one or even of a person who’s crossed our path for a moment resonates with us because it’s a frightening prospect. The suicide sometimes becomes about us and not about the dead, because we’ve all felt low at some point in our lives, but never crossed that line. In a very crafty and subtle way, Schuster is able to capture all of the feelings one could feel regarding the subject of suicide. Thoughts like: “I should’ve known,”“I should’ve done something,”“It’s not too late to save another friend, even though I didn’t save this one,” “What makes us so different? What’s keeping me from doing it?” “Why do people keep saying ,’he was in a bad place’? I am in a bad place too, is it THAT bad?” “What have I been doing with my life?” “I saw the signs, why didn’t I do something?” “I can see how easily it could have happened” “I wish I could’ve been a better friend.”By the end of the book, Charley is starting to get it and is able to look outside of himself and participate in the celebration of the life of a childhood friend.This is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time, and I really hope people get as much out of it as I did. Thanks again to Good Reads, Marc Schuster, and The Permanent Press for the opportunity to read and review this book.

  • Sean
    2019-02-03 01:55

    Every time I start a book there is always a sense of anticipation. This was particularly so for this book. I knew about this book for over a year before it was released. And sometimes when you look forward to something for so long, there is a greater chance for being let down; for the book not living up to the hype that you built for it.I am happy to say that there was no let down in The Grievers. Marc Schuster tells a great story about the coming of age of Charley Schwartz, a 28 year-old man who spends his time not working on his dissertation, not taking his menial job seriously, not doing a very good job of helping his wife rehab their home and not being a very good friend. Schwartz begins his journey when he finds out that an old friend from high school had killed himself.The story is well told; the writing is tight; the characters are true and the dialogue is contemporary without being gratuitous to the reader or the characters. The narrative flows easily. Any time I had to put the book down it was out of necessity and never because there was a lull in the telling.I mentioned in my review of Schuster's first novel, The Singular Exploits of Wonder Mom & Party Girl, that I have the pleasure of knowing Marc personally. I will say again that knowing him only guarantees that I will get the book and start it. If it isn't well done, if I don't enjoy it, I wouldn't finish it and I certainly wouldn't endorse it or mention it here. This book exceeded all of my expectations and I am happy to recommend it to anyone I know.What I enjoyed most about the book was the sense of fulfillment when I finished it. There are some books that leave you hanging, whether it be loose ends or just a poorly executed finish (the most glaring example of this, to my mind, is Get Shorty, by the inimitable and always enjoyable Elmore Leonard. Other books leave you wanting the story to continue. Yes, we've some to the end, but there is so much farther the story could go. And there are those books that leave you sated. When you come to the last period, the story is finished. This is one of those books.

  • Melissa
    2019-01-24 04:00

    The Grievers may possibly be one of the best books you’ve never heard of.This is the somewhat unusual case where I’ve heard of the author before the book. You see, Marc’s a Philly guy and although our paths haven’t (to my knowledge) crossed, I’m thinking I had to have read something of his at one point.He’s just too good.The Grievers came to my attention in late 2011, when my friend – and fellow Philadelphia author - Beth Kephart shared some reflections about it on her blog. I immediately added it to my Goodreads TBR list. There it sat until several months ago, when I spotted The Grievers on the shelf at the library.(This is the irony that’s become my life nowadays: I need to move across the damn state to discover an author from my hometown. Somehow, I think that the main character Charley Schwartz would appreciate – and relate – to that.)“Elvis Costello was singing on the radio. Neil cranked the volume and lowered his windows. As the world flew by at sixty miles per hour, we became children again – or pretended to, at any rate – belting out song lyrics with the wind whipping all around us. It wasn’t freedom, exactly, but a small part of me wondered what would happen if Neil laid a heavy foot on the gas and kept going – past the Academy, through the city, over the Delaware, and straight out to the Jersey shore. Could we have a do-over, I wondered? Could we win back the infinite possibility of childhood?” (pg. 62-63)When prep school friends Charley and Neil learn of the death of Billy Chin, a fellow classmate, they agree to help the school with the memorial service … which turns into something else entirely. (Those of us who work or have worked in the development profession will especially enjoy this part of the book, as there may be more than a few incidents that sound all too familiar.) It also turns into something of a midlife crisis of sorts for Charley. (Or, as the book description puts it, “The Grievers is a darkly comic coming of age novel for a generation that’s still struggling to come of age.”)The Philadelphia setting is absolutely dead-on; Mr. Schuster nails every detail of the geography. Although several of the locations are fictionalized, it was pure fun guessing what Mr. Schuster may have been referring to with certain aspects of his story.I’m oversimplifying, it seems, but Mr. Schuster absolutely does an excellent job with this novel. Discover why – and how – for yourself.

  • Terry
    2019-02-07 00:46

    An interesting and thought-provoking book, with some subtle and classy humor where you least anticipate it. I wasn't sure what to expect when I saw it advertised as a "coming of age novel about a generation that never grew up" but that is exactly what it is. Protagonist Charley Schwartz, St. Leo's high school class of 1991, has arrived at 2012 by doing the least amount of work possible, starting but never finishing project after project. Despite the fact that he holds a Master's Degree, his friends are his high school classmates -- who have accomplished little more than Charley has. The class of '91 as a group seems incapable of viewing their current existence through anything other than the lens of their high school experience, even though many of them hold jobs that would suggest they should have matured since then. The book begins with Charley learning something surprising about the death of an Asian classmate, Billy. Billy, who lived only on the fringes of the "St. Leo's group," both during school and at present, took his own life. The remainder of the book takes Charley through a number of emotions as he faces the next month. Though Charley didn't know Billy well, he experiences guilt (that he didn't do more), frustration (that Charley has accomplished so little in his own life), disillusionment (his classmates seem incapable of remembering that Billy was not realy a part of the group and that they may have contributed to his exclusion), and a variety of other emotions, as he suggests, and then attempts to execute, a memorial service for Billy at St. Leo's. This is not a "feel good" book, but it IS engaging, and it will make you think. Most "coming of age" books are written by someone who has matured and is looking back on the experience. This one is written from the point of view of someone who "should have" matured, but hasn't, and as such, it provides an interesting panoply of conclusions that that the reader may draw. I suspect that different people will draw differing conclusions, depending in part upon where in the maturization process one is.Disclosure: I was randomly selected from among numerous GoodReads readers to receive an advance copy of this book; I have read it and this is my honest evaluation. I have no connection with this author or publisher and have received nothing from anyone in consideration for publishing this review.

  • Lena Nguyen
    2019-02-14 23:49

    I won this book in the Goodreads giveaway, and this is my honest opinion of the book. I just finished reading this book today and I think myself of being very fortunate to be able to win the chance to read such a wonderful book. There are so many strong points that Schuster has applied to make this book an unforgetable experience. For one, it was really funny. The entire book was very sarcastic with darkly implied satirical humor. I found myself laughing out loud while I was reading this novella, and half the time I forget that I'm reading this novella at all, because it felt as if I was watching someone's conversation first hand instead of just reading it on paper. I love Charley and his band of old highschool friends. Though they are all into their late 20's, sometimes they act like children again. This novel speaks to me in so many ways, like aside from coping with a classmate's death, it's also about growing up and letting go of the child within you. All of his characters seem so REAL, which is what captivated me, and also because of the humor. Oh, THE HUMOR! I know I should feel awful because instead of planning a memorial service for Billy, they made it into a festival that looks like some part of Mao's throne room or something. My gawd that part was so funny. I loved how Charley thinks that Frank is still the same old asshole he knew during highschool, but really Charley's the asshole throughout the book because a part of him was still a child, while Frank is the one who's grown up. All in all, this book was a very great experience for me. Loved how real and believeable the characters are, and also the dark humor. I'm very grateful that I won this book!

  • Katie
    2019-02-17 05:54

    A friend of mine had recently won this book in the Goodreads Giveaways and her review of it made me sure I needed to read it. Thankfully, she was kind enough to loan me the book. I read this book in one sitting. The Grievers is a very compelling story, mostly due to its highly relatable content. As a person in their mid-twenties I can only laugh at how accurately Marc Schuster portrayed what I’ve come to realize is my quarter-life crisis. We’re all stuck in our own heads and only perceive things, most importantly ourselves, as we perceive them. Too many times we fail to see our decisions, our attitude and how they affect others around us. Charley is a shining example of our twenty-something selfishness and his story is one that I am not likely to forget. Self-awareness is such an important aspect of leading a healthy, happy life and it seems to be such a difficult thing to acquire these days. It seems it only comes to us in times of desperation, or tragedy in this case. This story is painfully hilarious but also hopeful, it makes me feel like one day this crazy life I lead will mean something, and more importantly I will understand and accept whatever that is.

  • Shannon
    2019-02-05 08:12

    Charley Schwartz, the man inside the dollar bill costume, has nothing going for him at all when he receives the sad news that an old school friend has committed suicide. He, along with his best friend, decides to have a memorial service for Billy at their alma mater. Things get out of control when the school decides that such an event would be perfect for their own fundraising. Billy’s death proves to be a catalyst for Charley to see his own failings and to try to set them right before they get out of hand.First of all, these characters are amazing. Their quirks and mannerisms were unique and made me laugh. The plot may not be original but it’s the side stories that makes this a really good read. The prose was almost as amazing as the characters. The sentences flowed well and there was not any confusion even though there were some sub stories happening. I enjoy irony, especially when it comedic, so that was another big plus on a personal level. I really have no complaints about this one. I have already been telling people about it, so yes, I will recommend it.

  • Kasia James
    2019-01-21 05:49

    I thoroughly enjoyed 'The Grievers' - it's funny, poignant, and flows beautifully. Charley, our protagonist, is someone I think many people will identify with: so much potential, and a good and sensitive heart, and yet he can't stop himself from being a bit of an asshole. He is, however, acutely aware of this, which I found redeemed him as a character.My only reservation is that I found some of the humour quite American, if I can say that without being insulting. I suspect that there are cultural differences in this field, so although I could see that some parts were really funny, they didn't quite strike a note with me, in that same way that I know some Australian humour wouldn't work for US audiences.The ending is geuinely moving, and terrifically well written. It has a coming-of-age aspect which strikes a deep chord in the way that we are encouraged to behave from school and into adulthood. I can really see this book making a good film at some stage.I'd highly recommend it.

  • Elena
    2019-01-31 05:09

    I won this book from one of the GoodReads giveaways.I really did enjoy this book. It was a fairly quick read because of it's number of pages. The tone of the writing was something I hadn't experienced before. It was quite sarcastic and comedic. That was a good thing as well because the subject matter involved frustrating friends and the death of one of them. But the sarcasm wasn't in the least bit irritating. The ending was satisfying. Prosfunnyrelatable, at any ageshort satisfying readeasy but detailedcalm (even though the subject was not calm)ConsI couldn't think of any.Lovely book. I'd recommend it to anyone.

  • Chris
    2019-02-17 04:55

    Are the characters entirely likable? No. But that is what makes them feel so real. Do they do things that make you want to scream? Nearly every minute but that is what makes the plot so realistic. Set in a real city with fictitious details Marc Schuster crafts a story with characters that is at times frustrating but always believable. He subtly tackles a plethora of topics by weaving them in through mood, dark and humorous. Though his first novel had me laughing more this one did what great art does....unleashed emotion.

  • Hal Halbert
    2019-02-13 23:57

    Schuster's novel does something that far too many books try and fail to do: it raises awkward questions about our innermost fears and dark reactions to the often insane way the world wants us to act while providing absolutely absurd humor that only amplifies the theme. A must read for anyone who has ever struggled with the death not of a loved one but an acquaintance, someone you should have cared about, but didn't really. A must read.

  • Bandit
    2019-01-23 01:45

    Entertaining and thought provoking read about a bunch of friends in their late 20s dealing with a death of a former schoolmate set in and around Philadelphia. Good quick read dealing with the very relatable life conundrums such as friendships, growing up and maturing, since the last two can be totally different actions. The best thing here is the author's terrific sense of humor, evident throughout the book.

  • Che'rei Holley
    2019-02-11 07:48

    The Grievers are a group of men (high school buddies) that are struck dumbfound and confused by the death of a classmate. The confusion leads the classmates through ups and downs of emotions ranging from disbelief, anger, guilt, depression, and then... thrust to find a way to cope. I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

  • Sherry
    2019-02-18 00:00

    I didn't love this book, got about half way through and thought "is this thing going any where?"I am from the periphery of the generation the characters in the book are about, but I found them all kind of frustrating. I wasn't very happy with it. I thought it would be a book I would love, it just reminded me of too many people I know that piss me off.

  • Tara
    2019-02-03 07:53

    A quick read but very thought-provoking, as well as funny. THe characters are almost over-the-top crazy, but it's the kind of craziness that's also realistic? So that was nice. I could relate to all of the characters in one way or another as well. Charley cracked me up but made me want to cry at the same time. That's kind of how I felt throughout the entire book. Well worth my time.

  • Paul
    2019-02-14 06:55

    Loved the dark humor and dialog in this book. Several moments had me laughing out loud. A great way to forget your worries when, as I was, you are waiting in a dentist chair for your mouth to become filled with many sharp pointy instruments.

  • Bobby
    2019-01-22 23:54

    A gem of a short novel about loss and remembrance and the effect it has on those around it. Some boys from a private school organize a memorial for a classmate that they realize they never really knew. The results are both funny and sad in almost back-to-back paragraphs. Big thumbs up.

  • Tom
    2019-02-13 06:53

    Fascinating. It's a tribute to Schuster's skills as a writer that he always wrings some emotion out of me in spite of my best efforts to keep them under wraps.

  • Tricia
    2019-01-28 06:51

    Good work Marc! Loved it!

  • Jessica Emigdio
    2019-02-16 04:04

    Great book! Very entertaining, very humorous, yet heartfelt.I really enjoyed reading this book.

  • Michelle Lancaster
    2019-01-21 01:14

    By Steve SherwoodTexas Review Press, 214 pgs1-881515-68-0Rating: 3.75Hardwater has so much going on it can be difficult to keep track. In this case, that's not a bad thing. Peter Hoback is a newspaper editor in Hardwater, Wyoming, a small town that has seen better times, before the uranium mines closed. Pete fled Denver for Hardwater with his son Bart following the violent death of his wife at the hands of a psychopath. And wouldn't you know it: up pops another psychopath.Hardwater begins as Pete gets an anonymous tip about a multiple murder. He arrives at the site, a vacation cabin in the mountains, and finds 3 bodies arranged in a triangle: scalped, throats cut, clutching a sage branch in one hand and barley in the other, their mouths wedged open with quartz crystals. The torsos have been slit open and sewn shut again. At autopsy the bodies are found to have yellow cake uranium packed into the cavities.Meanwhile, back at the reservation, the Supreme Court has handed down a decision in favor of upholding water rights of the Shoshone tribe. There are threats and accusations flying as the Anglo ranchers form a posse. Yep, posse. It's not long before blood is shed, irrigation shut off, roads blocked and say howdy to the Wyoming National Guard.Pete Hoback is friends with the tribal authorities and does his best to remain a neutral reporter while documenting both stories for his newspaper. Then he gets another tip and finds a poem written by the psycho that points to more bodies. Pete puts the clues together and finds three more victims, identical to the first three. Then the killer threatens Bart and the chase is on.This book reminds me of James Lee Burke and as regular followers of Texas Book Lover know, that is some of the highest praise I can give. Just as JLB evokes southern Louisiana to perfection, Steve Sherwood has brought us Wyoming. I also want to commend Mr. Sherwood on the ending. The story is not tied up with ribbon and bow. The author allows the ending to be messy. I would love to read more from this writer. He has the potential to be great. Steve Sherwood is an instructor at Texas Christian University and director of the William L. Adams Center for Writing. He won the George Garrett Fiction Prize, awarded by the Texas Review Press in 2003.For more on the author: http://www.wrt.tcu.edu/profiles.htmlFor more on the Texas Review Press: http://www.shsu.edu/~www_trp/

  • Julie H.
    2019-02-03 07:00

    The Grievers is part coming of age novel and part indictment of the hard facts of life (e.g., that life is hard, often unfair, that people who are jerks will often achieve success whereas folks who are decent will climb the ladder comparatively slower, etc.). Based on a clever conceit, the premise of the book is that Charley Schwartz is a doctoral candidate whose dissertation has stalled, whose summer job with a bank requires that he wear an anthropomorphic dollar sign which has him slipping in the mud and losing any remaining shred of his rapidly-eroding self-respect, when he learns that high school acquaintance Billy Chin has taken his life. With the best of intentions, Charley approaches their prestigeous prep school alma mater to host a memorial service in Billy's honor. Instead, it turns into a three-ring circus when the school's development officer and Charley's high school nemesis become involved. Where the novel fell a bit short for me was how unsympathetic I found Charlie. His long-suffering wife, Karen, is just that--and it seems little warranted. The story comes full circle, and Charley appears to have a glimmering of what adulthood might involve by book's end. While hopeful, I'm just not certain that he'll manage to keep it together long enough to do right by Billy's memory and the generation of boys who have successfully transitioned to adulthood.

  • Andy
    2019-01-25 08:04

    When I picked up this particular book I was under the impression it was a YA book. How wrong I was. Regardless, I stuck with it, and tried my damnedest to make the most of a story that I thought I would identify with. How could I not? The main character went to an all boys parochial school, he was roughly the same age I am, and he was married, and he was exploring his options in a career world, working on his dissertation, etc., etc. It wasn't so much that I didn't identify with Charly, it was that the story was kind of boring. A cyclical, roundabout, and sort of tedious existence, that never really went anywhere at all. Even the ending sort of fizzled out, and while I get what was going on with these characters, and the emotions they were feeling, I just couldn't really feel any sympathy for them, or empathize with them. I just wanted it to be over. I still don't feel like there was much of a conclusion. Rather, the book just sort of stopped with everyone around a table, and again, while I get there was an attempt at resolving the issues, I didn't really "feel" it. Read with a warning... this book may bore you.

  • Vee41dmb
    2019-01-28 08:14

    I won this book as a first reads giveaway on goodreads.I was really excited by the description when I entered the giveaway.However, the book was much different than I thought it would be. For some reason I thought it was going to be sarcastic and funny in the style of say Sedaris.. and it was sarastic and funny, but not in the way I was suspecting. The part about the cat made me die laughing and there were a couple laugh out loud parts of the book I really enjoyed. I am having a hard time putting into words what i thought and felt about this one.I somehow wanted more, but I'm not sure ezactly in what way. I wanted more of those laugh out loud moments. I wanted more from the story in general. I thought Schuster could have gone further and to more of a extreme in some ways and still kept the emotion in the story.Overall it was okay. A short story with funny moments and a heartfelt tale to tell.I did enjoy the ending.I would be interested in seeing what Schuster writes next.

  • Ryan Mac
    2019-01-22 03:02

    This was a quick but fun read. Charley Schwartz, a 30-something graduate of Saint Leonard's Academy (a private school in Philadelphia) has gotten through his life so far by doing as little as possible and never really finishing any projects (including his dissertation for his doctorate). At the beginning of the book, Charley learns that a classmate, whom Charley knew a little bit, from the Academy has committed suicide. The remainder of the book covers his reaction to Billy's death, interactions with his friends (all of them are from the Academy) and the memorial for Billy. It is accurately described as a "coming of age" book, except that this is for middle-aged people. Funny in parts (the dollar sign costume and the musicals for example), difficult to read in other parts (I didn't really care for Charley for most of the book) but a very fun read.