3 out of 4 stars
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Searching For Paradise is a historical fiction book by T.L. Hughes. It is set in 1984, and it takes its readers on a journey across America, from Huntington Beach to Lowell.
Michael "Mike" Hogan has finally had enough. He can take no more! He is tired of starving, tired of chasing a fruitless dream. Back in Lowell, Mike had envisioned a different existence in California. He had come for the beaches, for the girls, and for fame. How different it all has turned out to be! It has gotten so bad that he survives off a loaf of bread and some ketchup for days on end. He decides to leave. He can follow his dream elsewhere - Europe perhaps? And so, he and two if his friends quit their jobs and take a trip across America in hopes of finding their purpose. They refuse to be tied down by convention!
The book is written from Mike's perspective. He is often deep in thought. He questions each scene in his life, he wonders about what it all means. I found it interesting that he would repeat certain memories throughout the narrative. We all have defining moments, I believe that these were his defining moments. This made Mike all the more human. I felt like I was peering into the thoughts of an actual human and not just a character.
Two other aspects make Mike more believable as a character. Firstly, we see him go through heartbreak. He agonises over memories of his lost love. He analyses where and when it all went wrong. His emotions are raw and honest. His pain is the sort that we can relate to, it is pure and intense. Secondly, his love for music gave him credibility in my eyes. He introduces us to the music of that era. Artists like The Beach Boys, and Bruce Springsteen feature greatly in this book. In most cases, Mike would recall a certain memory due to a song that was playing in the background. I loved how he stresses the value of music and celebrates it.
On the downside, Mike spends a great deal of time telling us about his various dreams. I failed to see their significance. I felt that they made the book drag on. For a book of only 219 pages it took me quite a long time to finish.
The ending left me yearning for more. What happens to Mike and his friends further? I guess I will never know. I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. It was a bit too realistic for my taste, but others might relish this realism.
Searching For Paradise
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