Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Lawn Darts & Lemonade by Steven Manchester (Book Review)


Lawn Darts & Lemonade by Steven Manchester
Book 2: Surviving The '80s Series
Publisher: Luna Bella Press
Publication Date: March 8, 2022
Format: Paperback - 336 pages
               Kindle - 1383 KB / 296 pages
ISBN: 978-1737789901
Genre: Family Life Fiction / Coming Of Age

Buy The Book:
Amazon (Free On Kindle Unlimited Program)

Buy The Series: Surviving The 80s
Book 1: Bread Bags & Bullies
Book 2: Lawn Darts & Lemonade

Book Description:

From New England's Storyteller, Steven Manchester, comes the nostalgia-filled sequel to Bread Bags & Bullies; a novel about growing up in a whacky family during the 1980s. Boom boxes, leg warmers and Rubik’s Cubes—it’s all there. A hysterical walk down memory lane!

“Steven Manchester’s Lawn Darts & Lemonade is so much fun, filled with laughter, tears, and Big Hair.” – Taylor Dayne, ’80s Recording Artist, Love Will Lead You Back

It’s the summer of 1984, a season of dodging lawn darts and chugging lemonade—or at least the discolored tap water Ma tried to disguise as lemonade.

Growing up is never easy, no matter what era you do it in. For generations, teenagers have suffered peer pressure, bullying, fear of rejection, and a sadistic obstacle course of one unexpected challenge after the next. Three brothers, Wally, Herbie, and Cockroach, learn that the past can be filled with questions—even shame and regret—while the future might be shrouded in worry and fear. But staying in the moment, now that’s where the sweet spot is.

Book Excerpt:

My Book Review:

Every once in a while an author comes along who writes novels that are so powerfully compelling, poignant, thought provoking, and nostalgic, that they pull at the heartstrings and stir the soul. For me, that author is Steven Manchester and his latest novel, Lawn Darts & Lemonade: Tackling The '80s.

In Lawn Darts & Lemonade: Tackling The 80's, the sequel to Bread Bags And Bullies: Surviving The '80s, the author transports the reader back to the delightful coming-of-age tale that follows the crazy antics of brothers: Herbie, Wally and Alphonse "Cockroach" during the summer of 1984. From playing outside and going on funny adventures, the brothers continue to learn what family is all about.

The story is told in the first person narrative by middle brother Herbie. The story begins with Herbie as an adult and a father of two boys. Pop has died and the family has gathered at Herbie and wife Donna's house for what he calls a "Redneck Shiva," where they go through Pop's things and tell stories and remember his one-liners on life lessons and advice. After everyone goes home, Herbie takes a trip down memory lane to the summer of 1984, where he and his brothers listen to Ma's advice to stay in the moment and enjoy the summer and their family.

Lawn Darts & Lemonade: Tackling The '80s is a poignant coming-of-age / family life story that will simply pull at your nostalgic heartstrings. Author Steven Manchester weaves a richly descriptive tale about what it was like growing up in the '80s. He eloquently captures the '80s nostalgia with an amazing attention to detail that easily takes the reader down memory lane.

As school comes to an end, the readers follow the boys during their summer fun! Wally gets his first real job as a dishwasher at the Oriental Pearl restaurant, Herbie has taken over Wally's paper route and will be starting high school in September, and Alphonse (Cockroach) has taken over running errands for Ma from Herbie and will be entering middle school. But before the fall season begins, the boys find themselves enjoying sleeping in late, playing outside especially with a dangerous game of lawn darts (not the way it's supposed to be played), Herbie fretting over whether Donna will go on a first date with him, drinking Ma's watered down Country Time Lemonade all summer, and most of all sharing precious moments with their family. 

This was such a fun story, between the boys crazy antics and the wonderful nostalgia from the '80s, I was immediately transported between their New England home in Westport, Massachusetts, to my own memories growing up during the 70s-80s. The author captures the '80s in an amazing way, you can't help but laugh, smile, and remember all the nostalgia that he interwove throughout the story. From the big hair style, to fashion, to TV shows and big hair bands, to the toys, and the adults sitting in the kitchen on a Saturday night smoking cigarettes and playing cards, to Ma making Country Time Lemonade in the summer, it was like the author was a fly on my parents' wall back in the late 1970s - mid 1980s. The decades of the late '70s and '80s was such a simpler time, we didn't have the craziness of technology and social media that we have now, it was a more gentler world. I laughed when the author described the old landline phone on the kitchen wall with the long cord that stretched out into the living room, oh so many memories came flooding back, what a blast. And I would be remiss if I didn't mention how much fun it was following the boys summer fun filled with so many crazy adventures. But most of all, I appreciate their Ma's life advice: live in the present or you'll miss the precious moments of your life. Thank you, Steven Manchester for the special gift that you gave us readers, memories and nostalgia are just what today's world needs.

Lawn Darts & Lemonade: Tackling The '80s is an amazing story that is written from the heart. It is a must read that will make you laugh, stir your soul, and provide memories that will resonate with you for a very long time.


About The Author

Steven Manchester is the author of the #1 bestsellers Twelve MonthsThe Rockin' ChairPressed Pennies and Gooseberry Island; the national bestsellers, AshesThe Changing Season and Three Shoeboxes; and the multi-award winning novels, Goodnight Brian and The Thursday Night Club. His work has appeared on NBC's Today Show, CBS's The Early Show, CNN's American Morning and BET's Nightly News. Three of Steven's short stories were selected “101 Best” for Chicken Soup for the Soul series. He is a multi-produced playwright, as well as the winner of the 2017 Los Angeles Book Festival and the 2018 New York Book Festival. When not spending time with his beautiful wife, Paula, or their four children, this Massachusetts author is promoting his works or writing.

Author Website
Amazon Author Page
Apple iBooks

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