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Schuster s novel provides readers with a mirror of those aspects of themselves with which they may have trouble dealing Charley Schwartz, the protagonist, is stuck in a limbo of sorts between childhood and adulthood He has assumed a variety of adult responsibilities, but he continues to approach them with a very childlike or at least adolesent like naivete He refuses to take things seriously when he should, and he takes too seriously the very things he shouldn t While in theory this may seem an annoying habit, it actually makes Charley endearing to readers We find in him someone with whom we can empathize, someone on whose side we want to be There is a character for everyone in this book All readers will be able to see parts of themselves in one character or another, which makes this book one with which we can commiserate, rather than one into which we want to escape In the end, The Grievers is a successful novel because it allows readers to accept the uncertainties that come with growing up, and it doesn t pass judgement on those of us everyone who have questioned the path we ve chosen and the decisions we ve made at one point or another. I was lucky enough to read an advanced copy of this book thanks to a Goodreads Giveaway I was immediately taken with the subject matter of the story, which is the reason why I entered the giveaway in the first place When Charley Schwartz learns that an old high school pal has committed suicide, he agrees to help his alma mater organize a memorial service to honor his friend s memory This is the first Marc Schuster book that I ve read and I cannot wait to read any other work he s ever produced It was a quick, easy read and I was so anxious to see what would happen next that I found myself trying to carve time out of my busy schedule to create any extra reading time that I could.With his gift of description and details, Schuster gives life to the intimate details of relationships between husbands and wives, old friends, best friends, good friends, and acquaintances who try hard to be good friends All of his characters are just so real Perhaps I connected with them because I am the same age okay, just a little older The group of friends in this story put the fun in dysfunctional There is the solid as a rock one that holds the group together Neil and an off the charts crazy one with a drug problem Greg There is also the I screw everything up self absorbed one who constantly sets himself up for failure the main character, Charley and the steadfast responsible citizen friend who is in the group but not necessarily the center of the group Dwayne.In addition, I think Marc Schuster also truly captures the effect suicide can have on an individual The suicide death of a loved one or even of a person who s crossed our path for a moment resonates with us because it s a frightening prospect The suicide sometimes becomes about us and not about the dead, because we ve all felt low at some point in our lives, but never crossed that line In a very crafty and subtle way, Schuster is able to capture all of the feelings one could feel regarding the subject of suicide Thoughts like I should ve known, I should ve done something, It s not too late to save another friend, even though I didn t save this one, What makes us so different What s keeping me from doing it Why do people keep saying , he was in a bad place I am in a bad place too, is it THAT bad What have I been doing with my life I saw the signs, why didn t I do something I can see how easily it could have happened I wish I could ve been a better friend By the end of the book, Charley is starting to get it and is able to look outside of himself and participate in the celebration of the life of a childhood friend.This is one of the best books I ve read in a long time, and I really hope people get as much out of it as I did Thanks again to Good Reads, Marc Schuster, and The Permanent Press for the opportunity to read and review this book. Like the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral, Marc Schuster s The Grievers blends the post juvenile humor of adults refusing to grow up with aching pathos and biting touches of genius By the final memorial service for Billy Chin, the reader knows everything is bound to go wrong, and that somehow it will all turn out right We re reading We trust the writer and driver of this tale And dysfunctional Charley s finally taking the wheel.A satisfying story on many different levels, The Grievers starts with a phone call from Billy s mother, telling Charley his old school friend has killed himself Meanwhile Charley is killing his hopes and his marriage with neglect And working at a bank means dressing in a shiny foam dollar sign to wave at drivers from the grass.If you think this sounds depressing, you just have to wait for Charley to lose his footing when the sprinklers come on Or listen to his friend quote Marx brothers movies Or ride along on a failed intervention when another friend falls off the rails Comedy travels hand in hand with tragedy in this novel, neither any further away than the next page, but both singing in tune.In soaps the dead can rise again, saved by mistaken identity In real life, true identity might be revealed in the mourning process Billy s death just might help Charley finally recognize himself And the Henry Avenue Bridge in Philadelphia might reveal a different view when Charley learns to follow the road.Disclosure I received a free bound galley of this novel from the Permanent Press in exchange for my honest review. Phenomenal Review over at The Nervous Breakdown The Grievers may possibly be one of the best books you ve never heard of.This is the somewhat unusual case where I ve heard of the author before the book You see, Marc s a Philly guy and although our paths haven t to my knowledge crossed, I m thinking I had to have read something of his at one point.He s just too good.The Grievers came to my attention in late 2011, when my friend and fellow Philadelphia author Beth Kephart shared some reflections about it on her blog I immediately added it to my Goodreads TBR list There it sat until several months ago, when I spotted The Grievers on the shelf at the library This is the irony that s become my life nowadays I need to move across the damn state to discover an author from my hometown Somehow, I think that the main character Charley Schwartz would appreciate and relate to that Elvis Costello was singing on the radio Neil cranked the volume and lowered his windows As the world flew by at sixty miles per hour, we became children again or pretended to, at any rate belting out song lyrics with the wind whipping all around us It wasn t freedom, exactly, but a small part of me wondered what would happen if Neil laid a heavy foot on the gas and kept going past the Academy, through the city, over the Delaware, and straight out to the Jersey shore Could we have a do over, I wondered Could we win back the infinite possibility of childhood pg 62 63 When prep school friends Charley and Neil learn of the death of Billy Chin, a fellow classmate, they agree to help the school with the memorial service which turns into something else entirely Those of us who work or have worked in the development profession will especially enjoy this part of the book, as there may bethan a few incidents that sound all too familiar It also turns into something of a midlife crisis of sorts for Charley Or, as the book description puts it, The Grievers is a darkly comic coming of age novel for a generation that s still struggling to come of age The Philadelphia setting is absolutely dead on Mr Schuster nails every detail of the geography Although several of the locations are fictionalized, it was pure fun guessing what Mr Schuster may have been referring to with certain aspects of his story.I m oversimplifying, it seems, but Mr Schuster absolutely does an excellent job with this novel Discover why and how for yourself. Every time I start a book there is always a sense of anticipation This was particularly so for this book I knew about this book for over a year before it was released And sometimes when you look forward to something for so long, there is a greater chance for being let down for the book not living up to the hype that you built for it.I am happy to say that there was no let down in The Grievers Marc Schuster tells a great story about the coming of age of Charley Schwartz, a 28 year old man who spends his time not working on his dissertation, not taking his menial job seriously, not doing a very good job of helping his wife rehab their home and not being a very good friend Schwartz begins his journey when he finds out that an old friend from high school had killed himself.The story is well told the writing is tight the characters are true and the dialogue is contemporary without being gratuitous to the reader or the characters The narrative flows easily Any time I had to put the book down it was out of necessity and never because there was a lull in the telling.I mentioned in my review of Schuster s first novel, The Singular Exploits of Wonder Mom Party Girl, that I have the pleasure of knowing Marc personally I will say again that knowing him only guarantees that I will get the book and start it If it isn t well done, if I don t enjoy it, I wouldn t finish it and I certainly wouldn t endorse it or mention it here This book exceeded all of my expectations and I am happy to recommend it to anyone I know.What I enjoyed most about the book was the sense of fulfillment when I finished it There are some books that leave you hanging, whether it be loose ends or just a poorly executed finish the most glaring example of this, to my mind, is Get Shorty, by the inimitable and always enjoyable El Leonard Other books leave you wanting the story to continue Yes, we ve some to the end, but there is so much farther the story could go And there are those books that leave you sated When you come to the last period, the story is finished This is one of those books. An interesting and thought provoking book, with some subtle and classy humor where you least anticipate it I wasn t sure what to expect when I saw it advertised as a coming of age novel about a generation that never grew up but that is exactly what it is Protagonist Charley Schwartz, St Leo s high school class of 1991, has arrived at 2012 by doing the least amount of work possible, starting but never finishing project after project Despite the fact that he holds a Master s Degree, his friends are his high school classmates who have accomplished littlethan Charley has The class of 91 as a group seems incapable of viewing their current existence through anything other than the lens of their high school experience, even though many of them hold jobs that would suggest they should have matured since then The book begins with Charley learning something surprising about the death of an Asian classmate, Billy Billy, who lived only on the fringes of the St Leo s group, both during school and at present, took his own life The remainder of the book takes Charley through a number of emotions as he faces the next month Though Charley didn t know Billy well, he experiences guilt that he didn t do, frustration that Charley has accomplished so little in his own life , disillusionment his classmates seem incapable of remembering that Billy was not realy a part of the group and that they may have contributed to his exclusion , and a variety of other emotions, as he suggests, and then attempts to execute, a memorial service for Billy at St Leo s This is not a feel good book, but it IS engaging, and it will make you think Most coming of age books are written by someone who has matured and is looking back on the experience This one is written from the point of view of someone who should have matured, but hasn t, and as such, it provides an interesting panoply of conclusions that that the reader may draw I suspect that different people will draw differing conclusions, depending in part upon where in the maturization process one is.Disclosure I was randomly selected from among numerous GoodReads readers to receive an advance copy of this book I have read it and this is my honest evaluation I have no connection with this author or publisher and have received nothing from anyone in consideration for publishing this review. *Download Pdf ↡ The Grievers ⇔ The Grievers Is A Darkly Comic Coming Of Age Novel For A Generation That S Still Struggling To Come Of AgeWhen Charley Schwartz Learns That An Old High School Pal Has Killed Himself, He Agrees To Help His Alma Matter Organize A Memorial Service To Honor His Fallen Comrade Soon, However, Devastation Turns To Disgust As Charley Discovers That His Friend S Passing Means Less To The School Than The Bottom Line As The Memorial Service Quickly Degenerates Into A Fundraising Fiasco, Charley Must Also Deal With A Host Of Other Quandaries Including A Dead End Job As An Anthropomorphic Dollar Sign, His Best Friend S Imminent Move To Maryland, An Intervention With A Drug Addled Megalomaniac, And His Own Ongoing Crusade To Enforce The Proper Use Of Apostrophes Among The Proprietors Of Local Dining Establishments Desperate To Set The World Right And Keep His Own Life From Spiraling Out Of Control, Charley Rages Through His Days And Nights, Plotting All The While The Ultimate Eulogy For His Deceased Friend And A Scathing Indictment Of A World Gone Wrong I won this book in the Goodreads giveaway, and this is my honest opinion of the book I just finished reading this book today and I think myself of being very fortunate to be able to win the chance to read such a wonderful book There are so many strong points that Schuster has applied to make this book an unforgetable experience For one, it was really funny The entire book was very sarcastic with darkly implied satirical humor I found myself laughing out loud while I was reading this novella, and half the time I forget that I m reading this novella at all, because it felt as if I was watching someone s conversation first hand instead of just reading it on paper I love Charley and his band of old highschool friends Though they are all into their late 20 s, sometimes they act like children again This novel speaks to me in so many ways, like aside from coping with a classmate s death, it s also about growing up and letting go of the child within you All of his characters seem so REAL, which is what captivated me, and also because of the humor Oh, THE HUMOR I know I should feel awful because instead of planning a memorial service for Billy, they made it into a festival that looks like some part of Mao s throne room or something My gawd that part was so funny I loved how Charley thinks that Frank is still the same old asshole he knew during highschool, but really Charley s the asshole throughout the book because a part of him was still a child, while Frank is the one who s grown up All in all, this book was a very great experience for me Loved how real and believeable the characters are, and also the dark humor I m very grateful that I won this book A friend of mine had recently won this book in the Goodreads Giveaways and her review of it made me sure I needed to read it Thankfully, she was kind enough to loan me the book I read this book in one sitting The Grievers is a very compelling story, mostly due to its highly relatable content As a person in their mid twenties I can only laugh at how accurately Marc Schuster portrayed what I ve come to realize is my quarter life crisis We re all stuck in our own heads and only perceive things, most importantly ourselves, as we perceive them Too many times we fail to see our decisions, our attitude and how they affect others around us Charley is a shining example of our twenty something selfishness and his story is one that I am not likely to forget Self awareness is such an important aspect of leading a healthy, happy life and it seems to be such a difficult thing to acquire these days It seems it only comes to us in times of desperation, or tragedy in this case This story is painfully hilarious but also hopeful, it makes me feel like one day this crazy life I lead will mean something, andimportantly I will understand and accept whatever that is.