My Book Review of A Season in Lights: A Novel in Three Acts

A Season in Lights: A Novel in Three ActsA Season in Lights: A Novel in Three Acts by Gregory Erich Phillips
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Emotional and Relatable

I knew this book would resonated with me. I was the little girl who dreamt of being a ballerina. Growing up, not only was I in the band and choir, I joined a community theatre as well as appeared on local public television. I share this to illustrate my unique understanding of Cammie and Tom, the protagonists from this story. I can also relate to the contrast expressed in the way life was affected by COVID between a large metropolis versus a smaller city/town, having experienced both myself. As well as what happen with AIDS in the 80’s and how that impacted various communities.

What I liked about this story was how it went back and forth in time to bring the experiences of Tom and Cammie into focus for the reader. It helped to create not only their backstories, but to build on the connection they shared. It gave more insight into how each reacted to the pandemic and the choices they ultimately made. For me, it brought a richness to the tale and characters, showing how time passes, players change, yet struggles remain. Still, even in the hardships, there’s a beauty – a community, support, and hope.

I loved the relationships depicted. Cammie and Tom… Tom and Vallia… Percy and Jonathan… The friendship between Heather, Elly, and Cammie… I was impressed with the way the author addressed racism, homophobia, and the views people had toward both AIDS and COVID. It was tender, emotional, and blunt while remaining kind and full of grace – very well written.

What I didn’t like was that Ellie/Elly’s name was inconsistent throughout the book. As someone with OCD, that pulled me out of the story, driving me a little nuts. There were a few formatting things that bothered me too, but all that is really minor. Most readers won’t care nor notice.

Overall, I felt this was an honest story filled with love and self-discovery. It made me cry at times, and I loved the characters. I definitely recommend it. It isn’t your typical “pandemic tale,” which I appreciated. It was so much more.
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