Review of Sh*t Happens

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Kirsi Cultrera
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Review of Sh*t Happens

Post by Kirsi Cultrera »

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Sh*t Happens" by Gavin L James..]
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3 out of 4 stars
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Sometimes life seems to be like a game of cards. Have you ever been, metaphorically, dealt a bad hand of cards? Sometimes destiny throws such hands at us without explanations, regardless of how good we've been. Regrettably, bad hands often lead to bad choices. Our circumstances tend to get only worse, and we reach the point where we can do nothing but shrug our shoulders and face the consequences.

We travel to the year 1969 when the Vietnam War was causing dispersion in the US society. We meet Rachel Hanson, a teenager from an upper-class family. She decides to participate in the anti-war protests and chooses not to mention any of this to her parents. On her first protest march, she meets Jenny, a dope-smoking hippie. The girls develop a friendship, and Rachel's mother, Emily, is furious. She is sure that Jenny is nothing but bad news, and this will ruin the future she has planned for her daughter unless she can somehow interfere. However, they soon discover that the real danger lies elsewhere. The evil takes a surprisingly familiar form, and suddenly, Rachel's hand of cards doesn't seem too bright.

Meanwhile, the draft lottery is on, and one of the drafted young men is Steve Tanner, a local farm boy. Destiny has interfered, and Spanner, as friends call him, is sent to Vietnam. Somewhere in between trying to stay alive and fighting the enemy, Spanner falls in love with a Vietnamese girl. Unfortunately, everything is not as it seems; Lien is committed to the local freedom fighters. Commander Chinh is not pleased about their blossoming relationship, and together with Lien's brother Phuc, he does everything to interfere. What happens to the lovebirds? Who walks out of the war alive? Where does Rachel fit into the picture?

Sh*t Happens by Gavin L James follows characters' lives from different layers of society in two countries. The reader follows as they struggle with their choices in life and, eventually, face the consequences of their actions. This historical fiction book paints a fascinating picture of the times. The extremely complicated political and societal issues of the time are skillfully woven inside a colorful canvas. We get a glimpse of Vietnam War veterans dealing with the consequences of war, the rise of the peace generation and their anti-war protests, and the often sad destinies of Amerasians. The reader's sense of justice is tested as conspiracies sprawl everywhere, money is used to solve problems, and certain things are kept hidden in the closets.

I enjoyed almost every bit of this brilliant book. This amazingly insightful story included all the stereotypes of the 1970s, and the author's insightful touch was admirable. Furthermore, the author's ability to understandably tell such a complicated story with so many characters was fabulous. This book consists of almost 500 pages, but I never felt lost or confused. The narration was well-structured and clear, and the story was easy to follow. In addition, I enjoyed the author's dry humor. While reading, one of my favorite epiphanies was that Rachel was slowly turning out just like her mother, who she hated so much.

Sadly, the only failure of this book was the ending. My expectations were high after such a delightful reading experience. Still, I recall wondering throughout the story how this was going to end and whether the author would be able to deliver a satisfactory closure. When I finally reached the end, it felt like someone threw a wet rag on my face. My topmost feeling was disappointment. The ending was abrupt, and many questions were left unanswered. I found myself wondering if the author was planning a sequel. Unfortunately, my further investigations did not reveal any proof of that.

I grant this marvelous book a rating of 3 out of 4 stars. I am deducting one star for the disappointment described above. Other than that, this was an excellent reading experience. The editing was on a satisfactory level; some small errors and a minor formatting issue in the Kindle version did not affect my enjoyment of the story. I will gladly adjust my rating if I ever find out that there's a sequel to this book.

Readers who have lived their childhood during the years of the Vietnam War will especially enjoy this book. Sh*t Happens by Gavin L James will also appeal to anyone interested in historical fiction or societal and political themes. This book is unsuitable for minors or sensitive readers as it includes profanities and violent scenes.

******
Sh*t Happens
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Kirsi
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Post by Josephine Mercy »

This book speaks about the normal situation of life. Good review.
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Post by NetMassimo »

Historical fiction is not my thing but this novel is interesting for the setting in a period that was chaotic and at the same time full of drive for a better future (which remained incomplete but that's another story). Thank you for your great review!
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Post by Clare Jose »

I don't historical fictions all that often. The unsatisfactory ending makes me wary, but I am curious to know how the two stories fit together. :eusa-think:
Thank you for a wonderful review!
Life is short, break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that made you smile."
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Kirsi Cultrera
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Post by Kirsi Cultrera »

NetMassimo wrote: 01 Nov 2022, 11:29 Historical fiction is not my thing but this novel is interesting for the setting in a period that was chaotic and at the same time full of drive for a better future (which remained incomplete but that's another story). Thank you for your great review!
This book really captured the spirit of this time period. This would have to be one of the best books I’ve read in a long time, that is, if we leave out the ending. Thanks for stopping by!
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Kirsi Cultrera
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Post by Kirsi Cultrera »

Clare Jose wrote: 02 Nov 2022, 10:45 I don't historical fictions all that often. The unsatisfactory ending makes me wary, but I am curious to know how the two stories fit together. :eusa-think:
Thank you for a wonderful review!
Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, and this book was really enjoyable. Thanks for taking the time to read & leave a comment!
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Post by MsH2k »

It sounds like the author did an excellent job (except for the ending!) of conveying this very difficult and perplexing time in history. It is no small feat to keep a reader focused and engaged for nearly 500 pages. Thank you for your thorough and beautifully written take on this read!
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Post by Hazel Mae Bagarinao »

I don't like much historical fiction but this book sounds interesting. And likewise, I don't like books that end abruptly. Great review Kirsi.
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Kirsi Cultrera
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Post by Kirsi Cultrera »

MsH2k wrote: 03 Nov 2022, 17:20 It sounds like the author did an excellent job (except for the ending!) of conveying this very difficult and perplexing time in history. It is no small feat to keep a reader focused and engaged for nearly 500 pages. Thank you for your thorough and beautifully written take on this read!
You are right. 500 pages is a long book, and I really didn’t even once feel bored, neither did my mind wonder to somewhere else. This was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time.

Thanks for stopping by! 👋
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Post by Jeanetta Delridge »

500 pages on historical fiction probably wouldn’t have been my fortae, but because it speaks of the normal dealings of life and everyday situations and obstacles, I would give it a read for sure.
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Post by Hannah Mae Fabro »

Having a long read of historical books is surely just not my thing. But the title of the book makes me want to read it. I also enjoyed reading your review.
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Post by Chandelier Eden »

Historical fiction is really my thing 🤩. I love the creative mind it takes to draft out an ancient story in a contemporary time, it's always so beautiful to read.
Meanwhile, when I hear of parents being furious with kids' decisions and kids being furious with their parents, I mostly tend to understand the two parties - they are seeing from different perspectives -
Nice review and I hope we all can play around with destiny and have it work in our favor.
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Post by Alex Reeves »

This is something that can stimulate the mind to its peak. It's, however, sad that it ended so abruptly. You left us with no clue, and I'm guessing how Rachels comes into the picture. Maybe she falls in love with Spanner or something. Your review was well detailed, amd I now hope to read this book because of the info your review left undisclosed. Great work.
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Post by Emmy page »

Historical fiction takes us back in time and recreates in our minds the events that happened long before we even existed.this can only be true in the way the author creatively weaves the stories.from your review, i think the author did a great job, and how bad the events happen,i guess its better to read first-hand.
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Post by Holly Goncalves »

"When I finally reached the end, it felt like someone threw a wet rag on my face." I literally laughed out loud at this. Excellent review Kirsi, thank you.
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