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We Had It So Good | [Linda Grant]

We Had It So Good

In 1968 Stephen Newman arrives in England from California. Sent down from Oxford, he hurriedly marries his English girlfriend Andrea to avoid returning to America and the draft board. Over the next forty years they and their friends build lives of middle-class success until the events of late middle-age and the new century force them to realise that their fortunate generation has always lived in a fool's paradise.
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Publisher's Summary

In 1968 Stephen Newman arrives in England from California. Sent down from Oxford, he hurriedly marries his English girlfriend Andrea to avoid returning to America and the draft board. Over the next 40 years they and their friends build lives of middle-class success until the events of late middle-age and the new century force them to realise that their fortunate generation has always lived in a fool's paradise.

©2010 Linda Grant (P)2011 WF Howes Ltd

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  • MaryAnne
    Bangor, United Kingdom
    11/30/11
    Overall
    "Thank goodness that's finished"

    There are only two reasons why I finished this book - because I had to read it for a book group and because it was being narrated to me by the brave Paul Panting on behalf of Audible. It was quite simply, tedious. There was little narrative that grabbed me, I felt the story line was just a tool to allow the author to express her opinions on every major event that has taken place since 1960. We had the baby boom and the contraceptive pill, hippies and LSD, the rise and rise of television, house prices and 9/11. ....And a great deal more besides.
    One discussion did interest me - the one about advertising, and one really annoyed me - the idea of 'time', how cliche is that?? The repetition of the idea that the generation represented would never get old was also worn thin by the end of the book.

    The main character was the rather unlikable Stephen Newman. He is mixed race, half Cuban, half Polish, and has spent his childhood in America. He is very much an American, however, even once he finds himself living in Oxford and then London, UK. He marries Andrea in order to avoid being called back to the States to fight in the Vietnam war and they progress from squatting students to middle class comfort, with 2.5 children. And that's about as exciting as it gets.

    I enjoyed Linda Grant's book about life in Palestine in the post-war era, When I Lived in Modern Times, but this felt like it had been written by another author entirely.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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