Friday, February 19, 2016

The Changing Season - A Pleasant Surprise

TITLE: The Changing Season
AUTHOR: Steven Manchester
PUBLISHING DATE: February 16, 2016
PUBLISHER: Story Plant

FROM GOODREADS:  This was supposed to be a simple summer for Billy: one more lazy expanse of time before college began. He'd fill the hours playing with Jimmy his canine best buddy going camping and doing all the things he promised Jimmy they'd do before Billy left. But that was before the accident that shook the entire town. It was before the summer job that turned into something so much more than a way to get a paycheck. And it was before Vicki. This summer was destined to be many things to Billy, things he didn t truly understand until now. But it was definitely not going to be simple. An enormously touching, richly textured, deeply moving novel of new adulthood, THE CHANGING SEASON is an experience to savor."

This is a beautiful coming of age story about a young man and his elderly dog. Billy and his friends just graduated high school and unlike them, Billy has no idea where he wants life to take him. During his last summer at home, Billy gets a job at the local shelter, falls in love, and watches his friend's life fall apart.

I don't usually read a lot of books with male protagonists, but I am so glad I gave this one a chance. Almost everyone has had a time in their life when they felt lost, and looking back, I can't imagine what it would feel like to be 18 again and not know where life is headed. There are many things I like about this book. While Billy has several close friends, his best friend is his dog, Jimmy. They have basically grown up together and while Billy is pretty much just starting his life, Jimmy is nearing the end of his. The two have such a natural, calming relationship. Jimmy sleeps in bed every night and Billy always make a point to tell him all about his day. I also like many of the characters in this book. Don't get me wrong, some of them do awful things, but that just makes them more human. And most importantly, this book doesn't tell a story which is neatly packaged and wrapped up with a bow at the end. Real life doesn't always end that way and I think this author understands that. Some of the ending was predictable, but it definitely didn't end as I expected, and I think that made the ending all that much better.

My only real complaint with the book is that I feel something was left out with Sophie's story. Sophie is Billy's sister, who is home for summer from college, and there are a few loose ends with her which never really resolved themselves. However, since it is not a book about her, I will let that pass.

It would be wonderful if Manchester would revisit these characters 10 years in the future so the reader can see how everything plays out. I actually care enough about them that I sort of want to know what kind of lives they are living. If you love coming of age novels, or dogs in general, then this is a must read.

I was provided a copy of this book from Edelweiss and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


BOOKER T's THOUGHTS:  All I can say is that Jimmy is a great dog.  Rescued from a local shelter, he proves to his family what a wonderful choice they made time and time again.  Jimmy is a tad overweight, but that doesn't stop him from enjoying life and his family still gives him treats from time to time.  He is extremely loyal and is definitely Billy's best friend.  Don't tell Mom I told you, but I am pretty much a Daddy's Boy.  Even though I help her out here at The Farm, truth is, I was a gift to Dad from her about 6 years ago and when they went to look at me and my litter mates, I chose him by falling asleep on his shoulder and basically refusing to move.  So I can definitely relate to how much Jimmy loves Billy.  I give Jimmy 5 paws.  

Now on the other hand, Mrs. Pringles, the family cat, gets 1 paw.  Come on, she's a cat!


  1. OK, the fact that your review made me cry... I wouldn't be able to handle this one. Dogs make me emotional!

  2. I love Booker's thoughts. I like the sound of this book and love how the dog is an important character in the story. Great review!

  3. This sounds like a great read, Barb. I like that Billy and Jimmy have such a tight bond, that Billy shares his day as part of his nightly routine. And I like that the book makes life realistic - it isn't always pretty, for sure.
    And thank Booker for sharing his thoughts but he needs to give cats a little break. ;)