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SEASON OF WATER AND ICE by DONALD LYSTRA
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SEASON OF WATER AND ICE

by DONALD LYSTRA

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After reading this book, I couldn't forget it. The author really pulls you in, making you feel like your sitting right there. I loved Danny, he is a gentle, sweet boy, so curious about everything and so confused. He befriends a pregnant girl who lives next door and tries to help her but she's so confused they end up helping each other.
The end takes a twist that you don't see coming. I loved the story and highly recommend it!

Passage from the book: "You know what I think?" she said, and she spoke as if she hadn't even heard my question. "We are sort of the same. You were right about that. We're both outsiders." I wasn't exactly sure what she meant about being an outsider- even though that was sort of how I felt about myself. But it was nice to hear her say we had something in common... ( )
  NWADEL | Jul 4, 2010 |
It’s tough being a teen, no matter where you live or in what year. The year is 1957. The location, Ann Arbor, Michigan. 14-year-old Danny DeWitt has been living in Michigan got about a year. His dad is on a new business endeavor, his mom in Chicago, wanting more out of life, especially money.

Danny is a lonely boy, in a town where he really doesn’t know anybody. That is, until he stumbles upon Amber Dwyer, an older, pregnant teen. He and Amber become inseparable, even through the tough times with her on-again, off-again baby daddy.

This story takes us through teen angst in a time that most of us know nothing about. Teenage girls are pregnant every day in our lives, in 1957, not so much. I agreed to read this book, sent to me by Kelley and Hall company, because I always read about girls, never much about boys. I like to learn when I read, and if I ever end up having a little boy, the more I can learn through books, the better The Kelley and Hall company has done wonders for my reading. The books they send me are most likely ones I would never pick up at the book store, but ones I normally end up thoroughly enjoying.

There were times in this book that I was sucked in, there were other times I was left wondering, “Is anything going to happen?”. Compared to some of the other books I’ve read, this one wasn’t as dramatic, but it was much deeper. It was a nice change of pace.

The book was written well and although I have absolutely NO connection to any of the characters, I felt close to them.

I am not going to give away the ending, but it was one of those that you kept telling yourself, “Will it happen? Surely not? Well, maybe.”

I enjoyed this book and give it 4 bookmarks. I highly suggest it and it will most likely be one I pick up again in a few years because I know I missed some things. ( )
  kariannalysis | Apr 17, 2010 |
I had never heard of Donald Lystra before, until I saw his name and book listed among the Michigan Notable Books for 2010. This book will simply blow you away! It certainlly did that to my wife and me. Set in a fictional small town in the woods of northern Michigan, SEASON OF WATER AND ICE is destined to become a classic coming of age story, with its affecting principal characters of Danny (14) and Amber (18), two "outsiders". It is 1957 - Sputnik and the Cold War. Danny's parents are separated, since his father quit his job (and burned his bridges) at a Grand Rapids GM plant and moved north to try his hand at sales (power tools). His mother has gone back to her hometown of Chicago while his father pursues what she sees as his irresponsible "experiment." As a boy who finds comfort in mathematics and science, and finds God in truth and logic, Danny is a loner, until he meets Amber, an older girl who has aspirations to be an artist, but is unwed and pregnant, a local outcast, living in a loveless situation. In their loneliness and unhappiness, the two gravitate towards each other, and things begin to happen - unexpected, shocking and sometimes tragic things.

This is a love story of a most unusual kind, with Danny soon learning, as he struggles with his own emerging sexuality, that love comes in many forms. There is a kind of innocence in Danny that has not been so effectively portrayed since Salinger invented Holden Caulfield. Lystra's style is spare and direct and yet profoundly evocative in a way seldom realized by today's writers. Early Hemingway - as in the Nick Adams stories - comes easily to mind. There is a firm sense of place and time felt, although Lystra touches on these factors only in the lightest ways, without any real invasive specifics. For example, songs heard on the radio -

"'Listen to this,' Amber said. She started to move her head to the song, which was a Buddy Holly song about how love is like being on a roller coaster. 'It's true,' she said. 'Love is dangerous.'"

Lystra never gives the title of the Holly song, but anyone who grew up in those times immediately recognizes "Everyday." Or in another similar example -

"The radio was tuned to a station in Cadillac, and a song was playing about the moon and pizza pie and how that feels like a certain type of love ..."

Once again, people of a certain age will at once recognize the Dean Martin hit, "That's Amore." And the towns mentioned throughout the narrative will also strike chords, particularly among Michigan natives: Traverse City, Kalkaska, Cadillac, Reed City, Cedar Springs, etc. Lystra is obviously intimately acquainted with the route of old US-131.

All of these details, along with perfect pacing and a few well-fleshed out secondary characters, add up to a story that seems real in every way and will resonate long after the final page has been turned. Lystra's first novel is, in every way, an absolutely stunning debut. ( )
1 vote TimBazzett | Jan 3, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0875806287, Paperback)

Winner of the Midwest Book Award for fiction Named a Michigan Notable Book for 2010 by the Library of Michigan
SEASON OF WATER AND ICE is the unforgettable story of two young people confronting life during a tumultuous few months of 1957. In quiet but searing prose, it explores the timeless issues of love and family, the destructive forces to which these ideals are exposed, and the healing powers which can restore them.

Danny DeWitt, fourteen, lives with his father in a rural area of northern Michigan following the family's abrupt move from the city and the unexplained departure of his mother. Bookish and friendless---and wanting to "stand by the side of things for a while"---Danny becomes acquainted with Amber Dwyer, a pregnant teenager abandoned by her boyfriend and rejected by her family and community. Both outsiders---one by choice, the other from social stigma---Danny and Amber form an unusual, openhearted alliance which helps each to deal with their separate challenge. Amber must build a life for herself in the face of intolerance, and Danny must come to terms with his mother's rejection and his father's growing isolation. The friendship is tested when Amber's abusive boyfriend returns and Danny's mother draws further away, leading to a crisis which threatens Amber and her unborn child, as well as Danny's conception of love and manhood.

Reflecting the political and social climate of the 1950s, SEASON OF WATER AND ICE is underscored by themes of independence and obligation, love and sexuality, courage and surrender. It's a story that you will not forget.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:21:09 -0400)

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