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The 6pm Frazzled Mums' Club by Nina Manning #Review

I am delighted to be part of the celebrations for the publication of Nina Manning's The 6pm Frazzled Mums' Club . It was published by Boldwood Books on September 26th.     Whatever the question, the answer is wine! They’ve swapped the dark and lonely baby days for school gate chaos, but Aisha, Sophy and Mel are discovering that there are new parenting pitfalls just waiting for them… Influencer Sophy, is trying to keep on top of home and work life but is finding it all a bit tough! Everyone thinks she’s living her best life, but the pressure to maintain perfection at the school gates when all she wants to do is cry, is taking its toll on Sophy. Aisha doesn’t know what to do with all her spare time now her twins are at school. Maybe it’s time to focus on herself and the dreams she’s put on hold? But when her mum suddenly begins to feel unwell, Aisha has to rethink everything. And when Mel is offered a chance to live her dream, she grabs it with both hands. But there’

Four Months in Brighton Park by Larry Ehrhorn #BookReview

In December 2018, I was lucky enough to feature author Larry Ehrhorn on Books, Life and Everything. You can read the Meet the Author post here. Today, I am back again to talk a little more about his debut novel, Four Months in Brighton Park

Set in a working class neighborhood on Chicago's southwest side in 1965, "Four Months in Brighton Park" focuses on Kelly Elliott, the kid with two first names. Kelly is a cross between Holden Caulfield and Walter Mitty, rarely facing reality until one day when he is forced to confront the consequences of his actions, when he impulsively makes an obscene gesture at Joe Swedarsky, the school jock and bully. That initial conflict starts a cascade of humorous and affecting dominoes that change his life. Being raised by his single, hard-working mother, Kelly stumbles through misadventures -- dealing with his mother's tyrannical pilot boyfriend, peer pressure, male curiosities, teachers, and friendships. Besides Ma, his guides through this journey include Little Joey, the legless owner of a local deli; best friend Jerry Hogan, Mary Harker, a troubled, mature woman; and Linda Martinsen, the quiet girl who found something likable in Kelly. The four month journey taken by Kelly provides insight, change, humor and empathy, elements of which all people are familiar.

My Thoughts

This novel gave me a real lift. There is humour to be found in the adolescent struggles of Kelly Elliott, as he endures the embarrassments and longings of teenage years in the 1960's. Kelly is easy to identify with and written in the first person, you get to see the world though his eyes. You get to see how it feels to be 'a child intruder in an adult world'. This is a coming of age story as Kelly learns to deal with some difficult situations and begins to stand up for himself. 

    Kelly has had a difficult home life with his single mother and her various men-friends. An acne -prone adolescent, he initially stands out as a victim but we get to see how he matures, partly through the people he meets during a crucial four months in his teens. Most  telling is his reaction to Linda, the young girl he initially idolises. Well observed, with humour and pathos, this is an unusual and enjoyable read.

In short: A young boy comes of age in the 60's.

About the Author

Larry Ehrhorn was born in Chicago and raised in the city and its
suburbs.  After his own graduation (not nearly as traumatic as Kelly's), he attended Northern Illinois University, working summers and vacation holidays at various factories. After college graduation (a whole other story), Ehrhorn began a 33-year career as a high school English teacher (not Mr. Bates from the novel) in various schools ranging from a Chicago large suburban school to several small rural schools in Wisconsin. It was this during this somewhat lengthy career when he realized that times and places change, but students do not.  Much of Four Months in Brighton Park reflects not only the author but the more than 3,000 students he taught.

You can follow Larry here: Twitter   |  Website   |  Facebook

Book links: Goodreads   |  Amazon US   |  Amazon UK  

Thanks to Larry Ehrhorn for a copy of his book.


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