Until They Bring The Streetcars Back: Book Review

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Spencer Nelson, Writer

“Until They Bring the Streetcars Back”, a book by Stanley Gordon West, set right after WWII, features a plot and life of a senior high school student, Cal. He lives two separate lives. He lives the life of a typical high school senior, dealing with social issues, school, and his parents regulations. On the other hand, he makes his effort to help Gretchen Lutterman, a girl living in hell on earth with her abusive father. Cal goes above and beyond to help her, staging a crime scene to help get her awful father in the penitentiary where he belongs. Cal is in constant conflict with himself, deciding whether or not to go out on that date with Lola (the thing that’s easy and desirable), or if he should spend his time with Lutterman the loser (ultimately the right thing, but hurts his reputation).  

Along with the plot, the writing in this book is PHEONOMANAL. The figuritive language is rampant throughout this book, and makes the not so exciting events more interesting and descriptive. The pure amount of similes and metaphors West uses in this book is just mind blowing. West tries to make the reader get more out of the book than just the words they are reading. There is a lot of stuff that is free to interpretation. Let me tell you, there’s a lot more that you can learn from this book than the plot and old timey words. 

The lessons that can be internalized in this book can legitimately be helpful to your everyday life. One scene that really stood out to me was when he was riding on the bare back of a moose while in the remote wilderness with his uncle Emil. Cal explains his fears, for he’s riding on the back of a wild animal, capable of doing worse than a grizzly. Cal goes on to say how he had to “ride it out” and stay on. As time went by at a million miles an hour, Cal starts to feel alive and happy, but also fearful. This event is brought up again and again throughout the book, to relate to his adventures throughout his life. Regardless of how unfamiliar your surroundings are or where you are in life, you have to ride it out.  

One of the annoying things about this book for me is how dragged out the sentences can get. For me, a simple description of the area is fine, as long as theres lots of action for me to dive and indulge in. On the other hand, there are other readers who adore this style of writing, with super descriptive settings and feelings. This is all good, but I just can’t retain all of the things West brings up about the setting and narraritivethat’s just me.  

However, I definitely recommend this book to readers who are into fast developing plots with lots of action. This book features crime, and the psychology behind it through a first-person narrative. I give this book a 8/10 rating, and hope it gives you something to think about. 

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