Official Review: Happy Valley by Jerry Travis

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Aubrey Cana Laine
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Official Review: Happy Valley by Jerry Travis

Post by Aubrey Cana Laine » 06 May 2018, 13:12

[Following is an official review of "Happy Valley" by Jerry Travis.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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In the past, I used to think that the word “retirement” meant living a free life, about finally getting some peace and quiet in one’s remaining years. However, Jerry Travis’ book, Happy Valley, has given me a different perspective — or rather, the truth — of retirement in regards to the old generation.

The book tells of a story about Tom Sherman, a retired English teacher who lived in the fictional retirement community Happy Valley. Tom was an ordinary man who I soon discovered to be suffering from depression especially after losing his wife, Ellen. He lived alone in a house with his cat, Smoke.

When I read the first few pages of the book, I immediately felt a little uncomfortable. The writing style was quite new to me, so it took a while to get used to everything. The events that were happening became monotonous to me until bits of Tom's past started to introduce themselves into the story.

What I liked about the book was that Tom’s character was surprisingly diverse. The book’s premise showed his current life as a depressed, retired teacher who was trying to get by in life, and then it started to show his past little by little. I also liked how I learned a lot of things from this book, like what being a teacher is like among rowdy students, how a person feels as he types his first story out of impulse, and many others. Additionally, it gave me a lot of insights about the lives of the older generation because of Tom’s adventures back when he was young. I personally think that the author is very knowledgeable to be able to write all of these experiences into his story and I appreciate every bit of what I've learned from them.

All in all, I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. I deducted one star because sometimes I got confused by the events on whether they happened in the past or not. It didn't make it very easy for me to distinguish when it occurred and if it happened before or after a particular chapter. On the other hand, it was a good read and it had a pretty satisfying ending. By this, I would say that this book is definitely for those who would like to read stories about one's life up to his or her retirement years.

As the author quoted before the premise of his book: “Retirement as we know it today may not be available to future generations, who might have to continue working forever to pay off the debts of the present generation. That would also mean the end of retirement communities like the fictional Happy Valley in this novel.

Happy Valley
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stacie k
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Post by stacie k » 22 Jun 2018, 00:33

Tom sounds like an interesting individual. Teachers are sure to have stories to share! Too bad about the confusing timeline, though. Thanks for sharing this information!
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Post by Riszell » 22 Jun 2018, 02:31

I was wondering about the writing style used in this book as you mentioned that it is quite new to you. Although the retirement community here is fictional, there are still homes like this that exist in real life and it is sad to think that there is a possibility of nonexistence or end of these communities in the future.

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Post by Sahani Nimandra » 22 Jun 2018, 03:04

I wonder how does it feel to retire alone? Lot things came to my mind after I read this review. I am not surprised that he fell off to depression when his wife died. Moreover, after living with someone for a very long time and losing that person, and you find yourself living alone in a big house that's rough. I like to read this book, I believe it has a lot to teach me. Thank you for your review!
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Post by Nmesoma » 22 Jun 2018, 20:42

It's not for me; retirement villages and other nick-knacks like that but I love your review and I am giving you a thumbs up right now, (don't worry if you don't see it).

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Post by ParadoxicalWoman » 22 Jun 2018, 23:59

I would like to read this story. I'm not sure about the possibility of retirement may not be available for future generations is a good news to me or not because my father who is 62 now is still happily working as an auditor and my 92 year old Prime Minister is serving my country for a second time.

Seeing these 2 influential men in my life has given me the mentality to keep on working and learning new things while I'm still able to physically, emotionally, and mentally.

Anyway, good review on this. I will check this book out.
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Post by SamSim » 26 Jun 2018, 09:40

People with quite varied life experiences are endlessly interesting. The issues regarding how upcoming retirees will manage financially are definitely serious. Personally, I think we should be teaching high school students the importance of planning for retirement and how to manage a savings account and other retirement-financing options. Thanks for the great review!
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