The Rome of Fall

Fiction - General
280 Pages
Reviewed on 03/20/2020
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Lisa McCombs for Readers' Favorite

It all starts at Rome High School, the heart of the football-obsessed community where Marcus Brinks learns the childish ways of successful adults, dodges the steroid-driven first string gladiators and falls in love for the first and only time. In 1994, all that mattered to the students, faculty, and community members of Rome was the next big win. With fixed grades and over-inflated egos, football players rule the halls of Rome High School, the streets of Rome, and the hearts of all the females who grace those halls and accompanying streets where Marcus Brinks bides his time until he can escape the archaic attitudes of small-town living. Twenty years later, a washed-up one-time rock star, Marcus returns to be with his dying mother to find nothing has changed other than his overwhelming attraction to Becca Walsh, who this time around meets him in the middle and beyond. Just when Marcus believes that something good can come from the ridiculousness of the values in Rome, familiar threats of days gone by remind Marcus that nothing in Rome changes, even when Rome falls.

In The Rome Of Fall, Chad Alan Gibbs shares a superlative wit and mastery of the English language with such observances as “the girl who’d, since I met her half a lifetime ago, owned considerable real estate in my mind.” Starting with the thought-provokingly appropriate play-on-words title, The Rome of Fall is a delightful, heartbreaking cause and effect storyline that makes this novel a must-read. Chad Alan Gibbs is a master storyteller not to be ignored. Loved this novel! Chad Alan Gibbs is my latest favorite author.

K.C. Finn

The Rome of Fall is a work of general fiction and interpersonal drama penned by author Chad Alan Gibbs. Combining the angst and interpersonal complexities of the teen high school drama with the thirtysomething homecoming story, this charming work examines how far any of us really leave home and high school behind. Our hero is Marcus Brinks, once the lead singer of a 90s rock band, who returns to a teaching job at his former high school when he ends up high and dry. Reuniting with old friends and enemies brings back the bonds of days gone by, as well as romances and some loathsome conspiracies.

Filled with wit and wisdom from start to end, author Chad Alan Gibbs knows how to tell a story that is both nostalgic and relevant at the same time. Marcus is a highly relatable central figure for the Millennial reader, harking back to the old days when life doesn’t quite pan out the way he wants it. Gibbs’s narration is compassionate, sometimes humorous and often fuelled by pure emotion, letting us see the journey from kid to adult that his characters made, or in some cases failed to make. I particularly liked Deacon’s storyline and the resolution there, which speaks volumes about the value of letting go of the past. The dialogue was snappy, realistic and fully individualized to each character throughout, which really enhanced the reading experience. Overall, I’d highly recommend The Rome of Fall for fans of teen fiction who are keen to migrate to something much more grown-up.

Deborah Lloyd

Marcus Brinks returned to his hometown of Rome, Alabama, after more than a twenty-year absence, when his mother was receiving home hospice care. Marcus had been part of a short-lived, somewhat famous indie rock band named Dear Brutus. He was hired at his old high school teaching English literature. Many things in Rome had not changed. The town’s obsession with its high school football team was stronger than ever. His friends, Jackson Crowder and Silas Carver, and their high school nemesis, Deacon Cassburn, still lived in Rome. Deacon had been the quarterback and high school bully. Becca Walsh was a teacher at the middle school, and she was Marcus’ first love. Jackson Crowder was now the arrogant and revered football coach. In The Rome of Fall, written by Chad Alan Gibbs, the complications and secrets of small-town life are revealed as the story moves back and forth between 1994 and 2017.

One of the most striking aspects of The Rome of Fall is the development of several main characters. These include Marcus, his mother, Becca, Deacon, Jackson, and Silas. The author skillfully builds each one’s complicated personality by disclosing information from 1994 and then adding 2017 present-day facts. He also accurately portrays small-town, football-centered life in a Southern state. The plot engages the reader from the first page to the last, and how the story ends is unexpected. Author Chad Alan Gibbs has written an enticing page-turner in The Rome of Fall; every reader will enjoy learning more about Rome and its complex residents.