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Sex, drugs and rock and roll. What more does a novel need?

Be prepared to take a trip when reading When Life Was Like a Cucumber by Greg Wyss. This trip will be unlike any one you have ever taken before. That is unless you were in your 20s, living in the late 1960s and early 1970s on the East coast, more 


My Last Summer With You: no fanfare for a withered rose
 My Last Summer With You: no fanfare for a withered rose
 1457512580 978-1457512582

In his first novel, Fidelis Mkparu tells a story of Joseph, a seventeen year old student who leaves his family and continent to attend college in a new world. Joseph is a disciplined and intelligent student who is devoted to the friends he makes in school, but his dedication is not always reciprocated. However, fair weather friends do not deter him from honoring the sanctity of friendship. He is subjected to racism by fellow students but finds comfort in his outstanding academic achievements. Although there are moments of doubt about the dedication of his trusted friend Wendy, she turns out to be the only one who remains infallible.

This is not a novel about love affairs, but it deals with relationships at a college campus. More importantly, it deals with cross-cultural and sensitive relationships in the mid 1970’s when such were not encouraged or tolerated. Wendy is ambivalent about her friendship with Joseph from the start but is willing to take risks until her parents demand that she stop being his friend. She obeys her parents, but her dedication does not keep her completely away from him. When her friend Francesca befriends Joseph, Wendy is very supportive. Francesca takes advantage of Joseph’s vulnerability and ensnares him into an exclusive relationship that is filled with unnecessary drama.

Francesca has limited financial resources but is helped by Joseph to finish her college education. When she becomes a successful supermodel, her friendship with Joseph threatens her career because of their cross ethnic relationship. Francesca abandons Joseph, and their friendship, to sign a lucrative modeling contract.

As his friends abandon him, Joseph realizes that wealth and fame are more powerful threat than ethnic prejudice to his cross-cultural relationships.

Date Reviewed:   



An easy reading novel about inter-racial love in the 70ís that will leave you wondering.


My Last Summer with You: No fanfare for a withered rose by Fidelis O. Mkparu starts out with Joseph, who is the main character, in present day receiving a phone call from someone in his past.  The author then flashes back thirty years to University life and Joseph’s first day.  He has left his home country and arrives in small town USA to create a new life in the 1970’s.  Joseph immediately meets Wendy who is an attractive genuinely nice young woman.  They become fast friends and study partners.  Their relationship becomes strained when Wendy decides she wants more than friendship from the attractive Joseph.  He becomes entangled with the dilemma of staying friends or becoming something more.  The conflict of Wendy’s disapproving family and friends is also concerning for Joseph.  Their relationship becomes strained and then in walks Francesca who manipulates Joseph right from beginning.  You start to feel sorry for him because the women in his life seem to manipulate him and his feelings throughout confusing him.  Joseph is a character that you would like to know in real life full of integrity, intelligence and kindness.  That’s why the women are after him.  You will have to read the novel to find out who gets him.  The perspective of a foreign student dealing with the racism that a mixed couple had in the 70’s was impacting because Mkparu shows that there was danger in being different.  

This was a quick and easy read that I enjoyed and would recommend.  First time author, Mkparu, has written an engaging novel about inter-racial love in the 70’s.  He also delves into the deeper issues of what really matters.  Is it fame and fortune or true friendship and love?  There were two things that left me wondering in My Last Summer with You.  The first, we never found out Joseph’s last name or what country he was from.  The second, I enjoyed the read but was left hanging at the end.  It concluded his University story but we never flashed back to present day which would lead into a second novel.  Having said that, the flashback was well written and engaging and all you want is for Joseph to excel in life and love because of his hard work and genuine kindness.  In the end, I was still left wondering what Joseph is doing now in his life after the phone call?  Perhaps the author will write a second novel.



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