Review: R.Dean Johnson’s Californium



It’s strange to think there are people not much younger than me who don’t know what it was like to live in a society that used to be a lot brighter than it is today. Blasts from the past usually involve a big nostalgic sigh. Reading this novel I knew a couple of things, it was set in the 80s and that it was a  coming of age journey. Johnson describes life in California during that time as a place where dreams came true. Which is still kinda true for California if you ask me. I learned a lot more about what it was like growing up in 1982 even if this story is fictional. We meet Reece who at 14 years old is a dreamer wiser than anyone in his family would expect him to be at his young age. There is so much description and palpable emotion behind the main character Reece and his family at times I was left wanting to know more. I really liked that in this novel I was able to see with clarity what Reece experienced. I found it refreshing to read about a time different than our own. Johnson introduces us to pop culture of the past and lifestyles that were perhaps the beginning of the ‘hipster’ culture. We also get an inside look at what it was like to be in a band and the struggles that surface with it. You will find that this is a story of self growth and ingenuity amidst the ever-changing structures of friendships and family.



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