After All

Young Adult - Coming of Age
304 Pages
Reviewed on 08/01/2017
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Author Biography

Alan Johnson is a native of East Tennessee and grew up in the small town where he now lives. A self described "child of the 60s," he is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and has been a storyteller since childhood. After a 40+ year career in insurance, he currently serves as a consultant and risk manager to governmental entities, while being actively involved in his church and community.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite

After All by Alan Johnson is a beautiful coming-of-age story, set against the backdrop of the turbulent years of the ‘60s in Lincoln, Tennessee. Cubby James has two years left to complete college and it already feels like it will take an eternity, and he is not the only one with this kind of feeling. The reader is plunged into a world of teenagers navigating the challenges of their age, facing their first heartbreaks, experimenting with drugs, and dealing with trust issues. This is a story that will remind adult readers of a time they had to face serious crises and how they dealt with problems peculiar to this age group. It will be hard to read this book without feeling nostalgic as the author introduces readers to a group of adolescents, exploring the impact they have on each other, their fears, and the challenges that wake them up to face reality.

Alan Johnson’s novel is character-driven, told from the perspective of Cubby James, and crafted to reflect strong psychological points for young readers. At the very start of the novel, the narrator states: “Nothing ever came easy for Paddy Leary.” This statement already prepares the reader to expect a masterful exploration of characters and Alan Johnson fulfills that promise in this novel. After All is an entertaining book, intelligently plotted and well-written. I enjoyed the prose and the conflict. The setting comes across in the narrative clearly, thanks to Johnson’s colorful and highly descriptive prose. It will be hard to read this novel without feeling as if one is part of the conflict, because it explores issues most grownups have had to handle and which young readers are familiar with.