Cecil and John are two old friends who reconnect at their 50th high school reunion and rekindle their long lost friendship in Gloria Hanson’s short novel, Two Guys in America. As teenagers they had lost touch when John’s family moved to a new neighborhood. Now closing in on their 70s, these men find they have a lot of catching up to do as they pick up where they left off and continue to build a stronger bond than ever.
So much can happen in 50 years, as John and Cecil soon find out. But despite the many tragedies, trials and tribulations that each man has faced, and despite the racial differences (John is white, Cecil is black), they discover that it’s not too late for them. Now that they are older, wiser, and more experienced, they are able to be more honest with each other than they could be as teenagers back in the 1950s. They can share with each other their insecurities and their most shameful regrets, all the while supporting one another instead of judging. Ultimately what John and Cecil learn is that white or black, suburban or city dweller, college educated professional or small business owner/blue collar worker, they have a strong friendship and they are grateful to have one another.
Two Guys in America is a short, sweet, and uplifting tale of friendship. Hanson has crafted two very likable senior citizen characters, admirable men of integrity who hold high values in their lives. Despite some quite unfortunate past mistakes, they are both still living and learning, both from life and from each other. Although some of the dialog feels a bit contrived and unnatural, what John and Cecil have to say to each other is, essentially, heart-warming and touching. They serve as a great example of what friendship should look like; accepting, supportive, and caring. As a reader, I became enthralled with the main characters and their families, as Hanson gently invited me into their world. She created a peak into the lives of two individuals, unfamiliar to me in many ways, yet relatable. Doesn’t everyone long for friends who are more like family, who are trustworthy and who love us despite our faults?
Alysia lives in Metro Detroit with her husband and four children. She writes about family life, parenting issues, and other things of interest to her on her blog, Michigal.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Gloria Hanson.