Review by Krystal, 5 stars, genre, young adult Sequel to The Ruin and The Bee Tree
This story brought to mind many the difficulties that most teenagers deal with in school while recreating the same issues in the nineteen fifties. Cliff is a wonderful character who fought to overcome many of his problems while never forgetting the feelings of the people around him. The friendships he built with his former abusers and his willingness to help them in any way he could was wonderful.
It was fascinating how Cliff's brother reentered the story bringing with him the love of his life Keiko, a young lady he met while in the armed services in Japan. It was wonderful learning about the Japanese culture through Cliff's eyes. This incredible series is one that will remain one of my favorites and I just learned that the series isn't over yet. I will be waiting impatiently for the next book in this series. Krystal for Goodreads and Angel Reviews.
As a fellow classmate of Kenneth Fenter, I easily relate to the story in Pivotal Times: The Freshman Class. I also graduated from a country school not far from East Lakeview with an eighth grade class totaling 6 and going into the same high school, MCHS, with a class of just over a 100 in the fall of 1954. How well I remember the Freshmen Initiation and the fear we felt. My most vivid memory was of the upper class men painting our faces with black and white shoe polish.
Kenneth Fenter has a unique writing style holding the interest of the reader at all times. He has spent a great deal of time in his research of th geography of the area, the cultures, religions, and personalities. This book is a must read for ages 12 and on to understand the bullying and intimidation that occurred in the 1950s and continues on to this day.
Of equal enjoyment for me was reading The Ruin and The Bee Tree. I look forward to reading future works by this great author. Esther Cook, Mancos, Colorado
A coming of age novel, Pivotal Times, The Freshman Class of '55, tells of Clifton Kelly's reemergence into life amongst his peers, after spending a year away on a personal quest described in the first two novels of this trilogy. Clifton is now faced with the typical problems of a teenage boy, coupled with the difficulty of growing up in the racially and culturally mixed area of Southern Colorado in the 1950's. Cliff's life, upon his return to his family and friends, is now troubled by such difficulties as racism, bullying, and freshman initiation. How he handles these difficult issues with a maturity beyond his years, and a sensitivity that belies his youth is a story of discovery, growth and tolerance that most can identify with and benefit from, even now 40 plus years later, as many of these issues continue even today. If all young people could grow into the type of person Cliff becomes in this novel, the world would be a much better place. Lori Baer, Reno, Nevada
Egoistic human nature is such that we might all think that we live in pivotal times, as the universe revolves around each one of us. But in Pivotal Times, Kenneth Fenter has tapped into the cross-cultural and multi-racial awakening in the decade that followed World War II and the Korean Conflict. Carrying this amazing storyline are a handful of families in the farms and towns around Cortez, Colorado, an area one might not consider as being at the center of a cross-cultural and multi-racial awakening.
In my view, this is a very positive and optimistic book, presenting as it does the struggle of individuals to find self esteem and courage in the face of bigotry, bullying and prejudice. It finds families overcoming their insular religious beliefs and racial bias in the face of stiff resistance and occasional brutality. The interplay of life among teens in their school, their families and their larger community that takes place in Pivotal Times is at once painful, inspirational and completely relevant to this present moment. You do not have to look past today's media headlines to see that we are still engaged in the battle to become a safer, healthier society. James A. Henson, LCSW, Author of Pee Up A Tree A Mental Health Memoir
In this fast moving story, the meaning of friendship, caring, compassion, and commitment mix with loyalty of family and friends to bring the reader through a series of events that tie together a group of young people in a Colorado setting from the '50s. Throughout Pivotal Times, Fenter exemplifies the devastating consequences that can be brought on as a result of bullying. He is a true artist, using his words to paint vivid scenes and well developed characters that move his audience to both laughter and tears in a gripping tale that reflects his burning passion to end bullying.
Linda Mitchell Maddox, Author of Resonating the Sound
It is a great story and you told it well. Even if you were not from MCHS, I am sure everyone could find a link to bind them to the story. It brought back some of the problems like hazing that I remember distinctly. The whole book is really well done and brings up issues that continue today and the resolution of those issues was very realistic. I could relate to some of the coaches and their actions and remember some "not so great" times in football and basketball.
We had dates exactly like the Homecoming dance. It was the last date we had with anyone else. Jerry made sure we had a dance date after that. It was funny to read about the same thing happening in the book. Great fun.
I would think this book would be outstanding for adults who have gone through these events and also the teenagers who are just entering this experience. Janelle and Jerry Beaber, Boulder, Colorado
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Reviews of Pivotal Times: The Freshmen