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The Night of the Comet

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3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  250 ratings  ·  71 reviews
A KIRKUS REVIEWS "BEST BOOKS OF 2013"

From the acclaimed author of Letter to My Daughter comes an engrossing coming-of-age tale that deftly conveys the hopes and heartaches of adolescence and the unfulfilled dreams that divide a family, played out against the backdrop of a small southern town in 1973.

For his fourteenth birthday, Alan Broussard, Jr., receives a telescope f
...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published July 30th 2013 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2013)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,522)
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David Kinchen


“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.” -- Henry David Thoreau, "Walden &
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Nancy Brady
Full disclosure: I received this book as a giveaway directly from the publisher, Random House, thanks to Ashley. This, however, is my honest review.

A wonderful coming-of-age novel that features the Broussard family, chiefly Alan Broussard, Junior (Junior to everyone) as well as his father Alan, his mother Lydia, and his older sister Megan. Junior recalls the night of Comet Kohoutek's supposedly spectacular arrival passing earth, twenty-six years earlier, and all the events that leads up to this
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Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
I wasn’t looking forward to a book that has “coming-of-age story” slapped on the cover. I’ve done coming-of-age stories. To death, I think. But this little book surprised me. Don’t let that hackneyed phrase prejudice you against reading this book. Yes, it is a “coming-of-age story.” But the characters are completely fresh and the story is compelling. I loved this book.

Night of the Comet is a story about a man, a family, a town waiting for Comet Kohoutek. Alan Broussard, Jr. tells the story of Al
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Candice
If you’ve ever felt as though you’re living a life you weren’t supposed to live; if you’ve ever felt ashamed of your family; if you’ve ever felt that love is something reserved for fairy tales; if you’ve ever felt uncertain of the laws that govern your universe; heck, even if you’re just fascinated with astronomy; you are going to love George Bishop’s The Night of the Comet.

I haven’t read a book yet that’s more relatable and real than The Night of the Comet. From the first sentence, heartbreak,
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Eve Proofreads
Choosing a single idea or image to rest a story on is difficult to do well. Often, the overuse of symbolic significance will begin to weigh down the story. Thankfully, this is intelligently avoided by Bishop. The comet is a thematic touchstone throughout, though doesn’t overwhelm the personal story. Told from the perspective of an awkward teenager, rather too like his eccentric father, the plot weaves the emotional relationships of the son and his parents with a good level of realism. The father ...more
Amber
This book was a pretty good read. I enjoyed reading this story about family and getting ready to see the comet Kohoutek during the 1960's and 70's in Louisiana. Definitely check this one out.
Bonnie
The Night of the Comet conveys the hopes and heartaches of adolescence and the unresolved issues that endanger a marriage. The setting is 1973 Baton Rouge and Alan Broussard Jr.'s fourteenth birthday. His family wear hats and have cake while the father brings out the gift, a Celestron D8 telescope. Alan realizes it is what his father has wanted, since he teaches science at the high school, but he soon learns to enjoy it because it lets him get a close-up view of the girl in his class he has a cr ...more
Larry Hoffer
It's 1973 in the small town of Terrebonne, Louisiana. Alan Broussard, Jr. (aka "Junior") has just turned 14, and his mind is on many of the same things other 14-year-olds think about—trying to fit in at school, trying not to let his parents embarrass him, and, more importantly, girls—especially his new neighbor, the beautiful Gabriella Martello.

When Junior's father, an awkward high school science teacher and frustrated scientist, buys Junior a top-of-the-line telescope for his birthday, he does
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Anindyta
I got the ARC version of this one. Actually what made me request this book from NetGalley is just because the title and the cover. Somehow it’s attracted me. I didn't even know about the author or his previous work at that time. This is my first read of his work. And…apparently, this is my first read of ARC books. So, I’m kind of nervous to read this one. Maybe pessimist is an exact word of it. I thought this book will be boring and just so-so book. Just because I never heard of the author and t ...more
Lolly LKH
The Night of the Comet is a beautiful story about a family whose life is about to unravel when an exciting family moves in across the way. A coming of age story about a young boy whose quirky father's obsession with a comet is going to test the family in ways they never imagined. It is 1973 and for his 14th birthday Alan Broussard "Junior" is gifted with a telescope by his father, but he is more interested in observing the new girl than any stars or comet. He is not the only family member enthra ...more
Angelia Herrin
Night of the Comet is a great coming of age book by George Bishop. It is set in the 1970's in southern Louisiana. I did enjoy the book and I think most people can relate to the story. Alan Broussard, Jr is just starting high school and this is his story. It is full of ups and downs and the disappointments that go along with growing up.

From the acclaimed author of Letter to My Daughter comes an engrossing coming-of-age tale that deftly conveys the hopes and heartaches of adolescence, and the unfu
...more
Mary
Sep 06, 2013 Mary rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: drama
In the prologue to this story, adult Alan shares his teenage memory of his father's raincoat flying behind him like the tail of a comet as he leaps from the town water tower. What follows is the compelling story of a middle class, 1970s suburban/small town Louisiana family's downward spiral that leads to the remembered night.
Reading this book is like watching a car crash - you want to look away because you think you know what is going to happen, but you can't stop. High school teacher Alan Sr.
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Wendy
On the surface, The Night of the Comet appears to be a sweet tale of a high school science teacher fascinated by Comet Kohoutek during the year 1973. However, as with many things in life, there is much more to this book than meets the eye. George Bishop is a supreme storyteller and has actually written a hard-hitting commentary on the consequences of the many different choices we make in our lives, especially those involving love and family. This is an emotional roller coaster and a beautiful re ...more
Laurel Wicke
This story is about a boy and a family who find themselves. Set in the 1970's, it has a wonderfully authentic feel. 14 year old Alan Brossaurd, Jr., begins the narration embarrassed by his father and ends with a newfound understanding and respect for the man. But this novel also investigates marriage and family dynamics, how we both love and disappoint one another deeply, and what we make if life when it doesn't turn out the way we had planned.

Here's a favorite passage: “That very same morning,
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Caroline Mcphail-Lambert
hmmmmm, thinking about what did I think about this book. Not sure. I liked it, yet it leaves me wanting more, or something different, or I'm not even sure what. I seem to be struggling with endings lately, and once again this ending seemed all too abrupt.

Perhaps because I was never a teenage boy I was sometimes lost on Junior's coming-of-age journey. I was a teenager, so some of his experiences made sense, but others left me wanting. I was 11 during the time of Kohoutek and vaguely remember, or
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Susan
Very enjoyable read! There was something so gentle and old-fashioned about the way this story unfolded that I couldn't help but be carried along. The voice of the young protagonist is so clear and true. The comet details are fascinating, of course, but it is the day-to-day trials of fear and hope, loss and love, that make this tale a poignant glimpse of real life and real people. Thanks, George Bishop.
Rose Blum
Aug 30, 2014 Rose Blum rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Rose by: goodreads
Interesting book ~ could be called historical fiction because it was set in 1973 & also had lots of comet lore surrounding historical ancient comet visitations to our solar system & galaxy. The book also thoroughly addresses what it felt like in the 1970's for a teenager whose father was a geeky science teacher with a modest income instead of a jock/coach or a man who was "in oil" & had lots of money. And what happened when the teacher's wife had a fling with the "oil man" neighbor. ...more
Paul
Three and a half. I am not drawn to coming of age stories, but the reviews nudged me to give it a try. Well written, with strong emotional content, the book was, for me, a little too long. There were several long passages that were repeated verbatim later in the book. The author's insertions of astrological minutiae are not always well timed and can disrupt the flow, particularly towards the end. The narrator is a fourteen year old boy, who because of his age, does not see the many clues about h ...more
Maggie
Heartwarming. Coming of age. Raw. It was a hugger.
Scalacpa
A story of a boy coming of age, telling his story about his family, parents, first love, trials and doubts of maturing. His father is a geeky enthusiastic science teacher. Awkward in social settings, as a father and a husband, yet his enthusiasm for science, astrology, the stars and learning is infectious. The book revolves around the coming of a comet in the 60's and how it affects the peoples' attitudes, emotions and actions in the young boy's life. A well written book. I will want to read mor ...more
Karen Klein
This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I really enjoyed reading this. It takes place in the year 1975 and is a great coming of age story about 14year old Alan Broussard. Alan lives in a small town in Louisiana with his slightly dysfunctional family - nerdy father who is a high school science teacher, a bored, stay-at-home mom who is tired of her life and looking for something different and his "hippie" older sister. Alan has only 1 good friend and is really j ...more
Leanne
Originally posted on Literary Excursion.

I think this book and I started off on the completely wrong foot, with me expecting something it wasn’t, and wanting things from it that it ended up not giving me. I’m pretty sure after reading The Night of the Comet that I’m not a fan of either realistic fiction or stories that read like contemporary (although technically this is a historical fiction). I tried my best to like this book, and to want to read it, but it took me the course of two weeks to fin
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Karen
A well-crafted and realistic novel encompassing a family’s dreams, obsessions and resilience. The story is told from the perspective of a 14 year old boy named Alan who lives in a Louisiana small town, a bookworm who is on the cusp of meeting his first love. Enter his father, a geeky science teacher who gives Alan a telescope for his birthday. The gift turns out to be one Alan’s dad uses more and who becomes pre-occupied with the approaching Kohoutek comet. So obsessively so, that his familial r ...more
Kathleen
I won a copy of this book through First Reads and was so excited to receive it! I thoroughly enjoyed George Bishop's first book "Letter to My Daughter" and was eager to read this one. The cover is gorgeous (not on my ARC, but the actual book cover). The book is a coming of age story set in a small town in Louisiana in 1973. The year the Comet Kohoutek is set to make an amazing debut. Alan Broussard Jr., or Junior, as we come to know him, is 14 years old - desperately in love with the new neighbo ...more
Gladys Turner
ARC provided by Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine via NetGalley for an honest review.

Welcome to the life of a 14 year old who just entered in the most messed up age in his whole life.

Throw in a man whose dreams are too big and who's stuck in a town where he doesn't get valued enough. That man is a father, a husband and a scientist, but to him only one of those things really matters.

Add to that a woman who once was a starry eyed teenager with big dreams and now is feeling like she's suff
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Claudette
This seventies coming of age story has an authentic feel to it. Attitudes and artifacts of the time ring true, but more importantly the imprint left on the characters by the decades that passed before is just visible enough to add to their credibility. Most appealing of all is the novel's examination of the power of story to shape our lives.
Dee6265
I thought this story strayed too much from the plot with all the scientific comet talk. I also felt like once the comet event was over the rest of the story was just flat. I felt like the Megan and Gabriella were just kind of left hanging in the air and all the other characters were just given a kind a short wrap up of their lives. It just felt unfinished.
Karen
Some beautiful moments, some moments that were painful and hard to get through. Given all the dark foreshadowing it was difficult to not feel like the book had a big cloud hanging over its head. I wish that it was just a tad lighter-hearted and I would have enjoyed it significantly more.
Marguarite Markley
After winning a set of 10 copies of this novel, we used it as a selection for our local book club.

I've gone back and forth between 3 or 4 stars since finishing and I believe my final answer is 4 stars. I really did like this novel and would recommend it to anyone looking for a not-too-terribly-dramatic famiily drama.

Set in a southern town in 1973, it follows the Broussard family and their interactions with their neighbors, family, and friends. The plot is driven by the coming of Comet Kohoutek a
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Kathy
This book is very well written. It deserves four stars. I gave it three due to my personal level of interest. It is a coming of age story about a boy....about a family. Descriptions of the times, family life, and personal feelings are very realistic.
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George Bishop, Jr., worked as an actor for eight years in Los Angeles before traveling overseas as a volunteer English teacher to Czechoslovakia in 1992. He enjoyed the ex-pat life so much that he stayed on, living and teaching in Turkey, Indonesia, Azerbaijan, India, and most recently, Japan. He holds a BA from Loyola University in New Orleans, an MFA from the University of North Carolina in Wilm ...more
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