Thursday, May 2, 2019


Title:  Boomer1
Author:  Daniel Torday
Publication Information:  St. Martin's Press. 2018. 352 pages.
ISBN:  1250191793 / 978-1250191793

Book Source:  I received this book through NetGalley free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Opening Sentence:  "Claire Stankowitcz changed her name to Cassie Black at the beginning of her first year of college."

Favorite Quote:  "You know, lately you really have been doing a lot of what someone who didn't know you as well as I know you, as your mother, might call ranting."

I am not the reader for books in which individuals insert curse words into every conversation. I am not the reader for books that begin with sexual encounters for a character. I am not the reader for books in which that beginning character is not even the primary, central character of the book. I am not the reader for books that seems to capture the worst stereotypes of two entire generations. I am not the reader for books in which I cannot quite figure out the point. Sadly, for all these reasons, I am not the reader for this book at all.

The book begins with a rather self-centered young woman. Claire Stankowitcz has reinvented herself as Cassie Black. She is a struggling musician. She is also unsure of her own sexual identity. Random circumstance introduces her to Mark. Mark is a bluegrass musician, former journalist, and a candidate for a PhD in English. Cassie and Mark get involved. Unfortunately, her vision of the relationship ends up being vastly different from his. She leaves him.

With all this focus on Cassie at the beginning, it is interesting to learn that this book is more Mark's story and that it seems to begin when Cassie rejects him. Why then the story of Cassie? I don't know. Anyways, Mark takes his "broken" heart home to his parent's basement in Baltimore. Enter Julia, Mark's mother who is a child of the sixties and has a story of her own to tell. Why is her story in this book? I don't really know.

Mark is unhappy, broke, and living in his parent's basement. He determines that the baby boomer generation is responsible for all that ails his life. "It was the baby boomers who had what he wanted, who in their geologic later years had petrified until they were protecting all the natural resources, who had what his friends and his colleagues and his fellow alumni and all those twenty-year-olds and thirty-year-olds and even some forty-year-olds in all the bars in Fort Green and Bushwik and Williamsburgh, in Oakland and Berkeley and Petaluma, in crown heights and Prospect Heights and Pacific Heights and Ditmas Park, wanted."

It is unclear quite how that leap happens, but it does. So begins his verbal war on an entire generation. So begin the "boomer missives." The book continues through these three different perspectives. The idea is essentially to present these different approaches to life and three different perspectives on the state of the world as the boomer missives begin in 2010. The plot is essentially that what starts as a verbal diatribe gets out of hand. In this day and age of things going viral, that seems an almost forgone conclusion. Of course, it gets out of hand. The question for me is do I really care?

The issue for me lies in a statement that Mark makes towards the beginning of this venture. "I want to tell you a story, and I want you to think about just where you fit in that story yourself." The issue for me is that I don't find myself fitting into this story at all.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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