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Reviewed by Susan Sewell for Readers' Favorite
The lives of a family unexpectedly change when an abandoned teenage boy arrives at their farm in the heartwarming novel 1971 by Matt McGowan. After his father dies, thirteen-year-old Bud and his stepmother Fanny leave Detroit and head to California. On a rural highway in Missouri, Fanny pulls the car over and tells Bud it is overheated. Sending Bud to the nearest farm for help, Fanny waits at the car. However, when Bud returns with the middle-aged farmer, the vehicle is there, but Fanny is nowhere around. While the sheriff searches for Fanny, Bud stays at the farm with the farmer and his wife. In the meantime, Fanny continues her pilgrimage to California in the hopes of finding herself amidst her grief. While she travels the Southwest with a band of musicians, Bud goes to school and builds a life with the farmer and his family. Why did Fanny leave Bud behind in Missouri? Will she ever return for him?
The stunning novel 1971 by Matt McGowan is a poignant story of heartbreak, healing, and renewal. It is a heartwarming tale of a family's journey through loss and grief to joy and reconciliation. Skillfully written, the story demonstrates how unconditional love freely given has unexpected returns for the giver. Dramatic and uplifting, the intricate plot, absorbing storyline, and enigmatic characters are captivating from the first page until the last. The author, Matt McGowan, did an expert job of weaving a tinge of mystery and suspense around Fanny's identity and motivations. It is an outstanding novel that leaves the reader with a satisfied and happy feeling.