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Book Review: We Had It So Good by Linda Grant


We Had It So Good by Linda Grant

We Had It So Good follows the lives of Stephen, an American of Polish/Cuban heritage who goes to London on a Rhodes scholarship (incidentally travelling on the same ship as Bill Clinton), and Andrea, the woman he meets and marries to escape the draft – and who he eventually falls in love with. The book is set over a period of more than forty years and embraces three generations – but the story is firmly focused on the marriage of Stephen and Andrea and this is the glue that holds all the other stories and characters together.

Linda Grant has managed the rare feat of being able to combine the intimate and everyday moments of life with the larger events of the last few decades. From hippy ideals to consumer greed, from the war in Bosnia to 9/11 and the London bombings, Stephen and Andrea and their family experience all that life can offer – the highs and successes, along with bitter disappointments and upsets. Stephen and Andrea are unique and wonderful characters, but through each decade they are also representative of the changes going on around them. Their children can hardly believe that their seemingly staid parents once sold drugs at Oxford and lived in an anarchist collective! A thought-provoking, slightly nostalgic read that ultimately satisfies.

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