Life Naive by Oliver Phipps

3 out of 4 Stars

Phipp’s novella tells a delightful tale of a young man and his accidental companion’s journey down Route 66. The protagonist, Hershel Lawson, begins the story as a young man in his twenties that has spent most of his life taking care of the grandmother that raised him. Hershel is a man that thrives on consistency and routine. Hershel’s grandmother, Me’ma, has plans to expand her sheltered grandson’s horizons. After her death, Hershel is instructed to take her ashes to California. Thus, Hershel sets off on the journey of misadventures. Throughout the novella, Hershel meets many interesting characters along Route 66 including the cheeky Sally that becomes his travel companion on his misadventures. 

Phipp’s novella was an enjoyable read.  Many of the characters are unforgettable. The story has a nice blend of realism, historical details of 1960s Americana, and comedy. It was nice to read a modern work written for adults that was free from foul language and sexually explicit scenes. It is just a nice , enjoyable read. The only negative note that I have is that I would like to see some more detailed descriptions of Route 66 and the sites that Hershel and Sally come across. I want to be able to see Route 66 in my head despite the fact that I have never been there. On this element, Phipp’s could take some notes from some of the great fantasy writers on description of setting. Despite that, it was a very enjoyable read. I give Life Naive 3 out of 4 stars. 

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