4 out of 4 stars
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The Boomer Blues is a memoir by Dick Caplan. In it, he recounts his family’s history from the late nineteenth century to the early twenty-first century. For Dick Caplan, growing up in the small town of Wallingford, Connecticut, was quite the experience. From attending birthday parties to practicing hiding under his desk in case of a nuclear attack, Caplan saw it all. In his memoir, Caplan discusses shocking moments of political turmoil and cultural upheaval. These moments include the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., and Medger Evers. Caplan also offers commentary on the shootings at Kent State and on the murders of civil rights protestors and innocent black children. In a comedic, sincere, and memorable way, Caplan contrasts the events and opinions of his time with modern-day ones.
I didn’t think I would enjoy this book as much as I did. As I am a non-American millennial, I figured my biggest takeaway would be learning about American history, as well as seeing the world through a baby boomer’s eyes. But boy, was I in for a treat! Dick Caplan’s humorous and casual writing style was the highlight for me. The memoir read like fiction and took only a couple of sittings to finish. I especially liked that Caplan didn't narrate his life's events in chronological order. This randomness added a natural touch to the book. It felt like I was listening to a friend recount his life story.
Caplan did a great job of establishing the context at every stage of his life. One of the tricks he used to do this was contrasting his age at the time of the event with the ages of well-known figures. For example:
I also liked how Dick Caplan shined the spotlight on people who had an impact on his life. I got to learn about his family, friends, girlfriends, and other people who weren’t even related to him. Quite creatively, he told his own story through other people’s stories. This made the book memorable and unique.At Woodstock, Jimi Hendrix was twenty-seven years old. Richard Nixon was fifty-six. I was twenty, and Barack Obama had just turned eight. My mom was fifty-two years old, and Elvis Presley was forty-two. Seven years before the Woodstock Music Festival, at the age of thirty-six, Marilyn Monroe had died.
The aspects I did not like mostly boil down to preference. For example, I disliked the use of profanity in the book, especially towards the end. However, this did not make the memoir less enjoyable.
I have no reason to believe The Boomer Blues was not professionally edited as I found less than five errors in it. I enjoyed this memoir because of the author's comedic delivery and honest commentary. As such, I rate The Boomer Blues 4 out of 4 stars.
Although Caplan mentions religion a couple of times in the book, I feel The Boomer Blues is appropriate for readers with different beliefs. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy memoirs and books about historical events. Anyone looking for a funny, educational, and inspirational read should also consider trying it out.
The Boomer Blues
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