When We Were Young

Richard Roper. Putnam, $26 (352p) ISBN 978-0-525-53991-9
Primarily set along the miles-long Thames Path in London, Roper’s delightful sophomore effort (after Something to Live For) charts the reunion of two estranged childhood friends. On the eve of his 30th birthday, Theo is evicted from his parents’ backyard shed, where he’s been living for several years since losing his job. Meanwhile, his estranged childhood friend Joel, a successful television writer, harbors a hidden dissatisfaction with life. Before a betrayal over a girl when they were 16, both boys had formed a pact that when they turned 30 they would trek all 184 miles of the Thames Path. With that in mind, Joel sets out to mend fences with Theo, who eventually acquiesces. Joel, a recovering alcoholic, is hesitant to expose a secret to Theo concerning his health. The long walk unearths old resentments and childhood traumas, but also reinvigorates the men’s friendship, culminating in a tear-jerking sacrifice. Their walk is interspersed with flashbacks that smoothly unfurl Theo’s and Joel’s inner fears, failures, and secrets. This endearing outing becomes a heartfelt meditation on male companionship, forgiveness, and navigating life’s ups and downs. Roper’s story shimmers. Agent: Alexandra Cliff, Rachel Mills Literary. (July)
Reviewed on : 04/23/2021
Release date: 07/20/2021
Genre: Fiction
Book - 1 pages - 978-0-525-53993-3
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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