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‘Coming Of Age In California-English Style’ by Jill Schaefer

January 16th, 2013 · 1 Comment

Jill Schaefer, born and raised in London, England, four years before the outbreak of World War II in Europe.

Jill Schaefer, born and raised in London, England, four years before the outbreak of World War II in Europe.

Review by Valerie Milano Los Angeles, CA (Hollywood Today) 1/16/13 Self published author Jill Schaefer’s second book, “Coming of Age in California -English Style-” is a lighthearted account of the author’s true story of herself, Jewell, a naive English teen, fresh from home and convent school, venturing forth with her school friend Margaret to the California of the 1950s. The female duo travel from Southampton, England on the Queen Mary to New York City then cross-country by Greyhound bus via Route 66 to a welcome in Pasadena.  The two girls first visit California’s small town of Bakersfield where they experience a quick and eye opening stay with relatives.  Finally the adventurous pair are in the heat and happenings of  Hollywood for their first US jobs and their first apartment. Late night mysterious random calls connects them with a call-girl ring which interrupts their life. In the meantime, the girls are growing tired of the dating scene with soldiers from the USO dances so they vow never to date any more military men. The journey continues to Long Beach to another aunt only to discover it is a Naval base! Margaret and Jewel catch on quick to the coastal life by sharing a beach cliff apartment with two other English girls and Jewell lands a job with the Miss Universe Pageant at the Long Beach Auditorium. The fresh air by the sea invigorates a new life style which big changes for the long time school chums. Along the way they encounter climate, communication, customs, and cultural challenges plus a disintegrating friendship while growing up and discovering new relationships. Jewell finally leaves Southern California for San Francisco, city of sophistication and singles bars. Yet like any wayward Brit or immigrant, the ties to home beckon. The book’s 374 pages is divided up into 35 quick chapters with a prologue and epilogue plus 14 small black and white photo of the author during her visit. I loved reading this book and I took my time over a week to enjoy it as it was a great escape from reality for a time gone by. I really could see this book adapted into a movie. It is a British light version of Thelma and Louise involving the Tip Top club, parties, pubs and being foreign while speaking English. The subplot to the story is that it is being read by the author’s daughter at the same time you are reading it! A bit surreal, it is like reading your cousin’s diary! As Jill puts it, “While a peep into the past for modern ChicLit readers, Mother Hens will brood over the adventurous chicks as if their own and ‘others’ (per Jill -’old Biddies’) ‘ will find themselves cackling and clucking over the escapades in a bygone era when they, too, were young and coming of age.” The author Jill Schaefer  was featured in this column earlier this year with her other book, ‘Up The Wooden Hill’ which is her WWII memoir of the London Blitz and her German husband’s memories of Nazi Germany. Jill has lived on the California West Coast for the past thirty-five years, fifteen years in Santa Barbara and Goleta plus twenty in Lompoc.  She, her late husband and three sons emigrated from England and Germany in 1974. Check out her website at http://home.earthlink.net/-schaefer234  and Amazon.com Special Research on this piece by Lorraine Chambers  

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Jill Schaefer // Jan 20, 2013 at 8:34 am

    Thank you, Valerie and Lorraine for a spectacular review of Coming of Age in California -English Style. (Please note the corrected website. it’s a squiggle and not a dash before schaefer. http://home.earthlink.net/~schaefer234/ Thanks

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