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Nebraska Winds

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Length: 279 pages4 hours

Summary

It is November, 1966. Tom is a lonely nineteen year old thousands of miles from home for the first time. It is the week of Thanksgiving. He misses his family and the girl he thinks is the love of his life. The pain drives him to takes desperate measures. He embarks on an adventure that leads him to a chance encounter with Judy, who changes his life forever. The relationship starts slowly, but they grow closer at every turn. Judy opens her world to him and Tom returns the openness. They find their lives mirror each other. Both have alcoholic fathers who suffer from the scars of WWII. They live in black and white worlds with no room for compromise. Her family is a collection of characters. She has a sister who acts out and is starved for attention. One brother is obsessed with the material and another one floats along in the world of the performing arts, content to move at his own pace. The third is a pragmatist who is easy going and the most stable family member he meets. Tom finds an uncanny connection with the brother in the arts who has been living in San Francisco since graduating high school last June. Jake is committed to music and is carving out a living with his guitar. Jake and Tom find they are both have creative pursuits in the written word as well. Judy takes a monumental risk and invites Tom to Thanksgiving dinner. It proves to be a catastrophe of epic proportions as the dysfunction of her family becomes the main course. Rather than drive them apart, it brings them closer as Tom sees his family’s problems and how their lives, though lived worlds apart, mirror each other. They both have a sad darkness in their past. She opens up about the pall that hangs over her family and has created an invisible wedge between all of them. They have all struggled in their own way with dealing with a monumental loss. They have never learned how to resolve the grief collectively. Tom opens up about his past and they find it creates a bond between them. But there is a problem. A series of brief encounters with an unstable coed named Wendy comes back to haunt Tom in a huge way. It begins with annoying stalking and mushrooms out of control. Wendy emerges as a haunting unstable presence as she becomes obsessed with pursuing Tom. She soon appears brandishing a weapon and acting out with it. She fills their lives with terror as she becomes completely undone. Will Tom survive? Will Judy survive? Will Wendy survive? The book contains countless twists and turns as it takes the reader back to mid-1960’s America. The emerging music and hippie world of 1967 is beginning to unfold. The tension of the Vietnam War is portrayed as it barges into the lives of the youth of the day. The cultures of San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury blend with the country life of Western Nebraska and the big city slickness of Philadelphia. The tale captures the zeitgeist of the era. Does Tom find the love and family life he was seeking? This little family in Nebraska is so much more than he ever imagined. It’s a love story and it’s a tragedy, but it is laced with humor. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, it will entertain you, but most of all; it will make you want more when it ends. You will find yourself wanting to know more about Tom and Judy. Life in Nebraska is so much more than most would imagine.

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