Virginia Lawrence | Caminito Del Rocio
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This self-published story (27th Street Publishing, Del Mar, CA) begins on August 9, 1969, a “crazy night” at the Anaheim Convention Center with Jethro Tull and Led Zeppelin at “their raw, energetic, explosive best.” Twice that night, “for just a few seconds each time,” Dan’s eyes meet those of a beautiful woman seated in the row in front of him. Though they never speak, their shared smiles provoke in him a “totally overpowering and unexpected emotion.” In the following months never does a day go by “without [Dan’s] flashing on the vivid image of [her] eyes and smile.” A year later, on August 9th, 1970 Dan writes to Tess - he has discovered who she is quite by accident - and is looking for some kind of explanation for what happened. “Was it something caused by the emotions from the unbelievable concert? Did Led Zeppelin’s pounding beat and the pot filled arena affect [him] or [them]?”
Tess does not answer his letter. Nevertheless, from 1970 on he writes to her on August 9 every year until 2014 – 44 letters in all. And there, sandwiched between introduction and epilogue, you have the book.
Dan’s letters chronicle his world – the wars and the scandals, the music, the Silicon Valley giants as well as his family life – the sweet times and the rocky patches, his hopes and joys, his guilt and grief. But Dan does not find the explanation he seeks.
Although AUGUST 9TH is his first novel, Stu Schreiber writes with confidence. The action moves along swiftly as he fits 44 years into a three-hour read - 2 hours and 56 minutes according to Kindle. The family saga is believable; the overview of the era (1970 to 2014) is fascinating. AUGUST 9TH is an ideal vacation read.
The only weakness in the story is the plot’s underlying premise – this reader remains skeptical. Could a couple of glances shared by two people have a 44-year shelf life? Could they lead to the churning out of 44 unacknowledged letters to an invisible heroine? This would require a staggering reserve of patience and faith on the part of the hero. The reader must wait for the epilogue to understand.
About the author: Stu moved to Del Mar in 1973 because of the beach and racetrack. Forty-one years later, the small town he proudly calls home has changed in many ways, but the “last time he checked there’s still the magnificent beach, an even more beautiful racetrack, a tremendously bright population, and a community that almost universally chooses to live in Del Mar over any other place in the world.” Although Stu “has retired nearly as many times as he’s changed careers” (his life spans careers as an entrepreneur, Co-founder & CEO of a Public Company, Insurance Industry Executive, Business Coach, spin instructor and racetrack clocker) “his passion for writing has never wavered.” He has written hundreds of business plans, a half dozen business books, and now AUGUST 9TH, his first novel.
On December 3 in its Local Author Showcase series the Del Mar Library showcased Stu Schreiber, author of AUGUST 9TH. About 30 people attended.