Trish's Reviews > We Had It So Good

We Had It So Good by Linda Grant
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's review
Apr 17, 2012

really liked it

Linda Grant is a strong storyteller and this is a character-driven book rich with cultural references to my generation. As a boomer who grew up privileged and upper middle class, I felt like I knew these people, I met them in the 70s, I understand their agita, and she wrote the stereotypes, like the Trustafarian, with great nuance. I loved this book, as I laughed at loud and ruefully recognized the weirdness of the times.

That said, the best part of the book for me is likely a negative for others not in their,say, late fifties, early sixties. The book works because it taps exactly into our shared collective memory of the time, and will bring back powerful sensory memory - cheap pot, patchouli soaked clothes, the exact scents of a squat, and the noisy sound of Marxist/anarchist bickering as we tried to find our way back then. The good parts of the politics and the hypocrisy are both accurately portrayed. you weren't born yet, I think you might like it less, and you might not catch the undescribed cultural references or miss the nuance of those that are described. Weirdly, this is an age-limited book in many ways.

The storytelling is so strong, and the multi-generational narrative so rich that a 22 year old reader may enjoy this historically dead-on portrayal, but I would be a bit cautious - read the one star reviews as well. I only gave this four stars because of the very particular niche of readers this will appeal to - boomer, ex-hippies now bobo grown-up children of the American privileged middle class will love this book, she knocks it outta the park. Will the rest of you like it? Probably not so much.

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