What A Trip

A Novel

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
424 Pages
Reviewed on 06/16/2022
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Author Biography

"What a Trip" takes readers back to the late 1960s and the Vietnam War era. Through Fiona, the novel’s protagonist, we relive the antiwar movement and the culture of sex, drugs, and rock ’n roll. It’s a coming-of-age story of female friendship and what it meant to be a young woman during those turbulent years.
In 2018, I wrote a short essay about losing my best friend to a drunk driver when I was twenty-one. Writing the essay gave me the courage to confront the PTSD that had stayed with me since the night of the accident. Once the essay was on paper, I knew I had much more to tell, and "What a Trip" was born.
Writing Part One of the novel was easy. I knew I wanted the story to lead into the accident, but I had no idea where to go next. I began following historical events—Woodstock, the Vietnam War, Nixon’s draft lottery, and the Kent State Massacre—and the plot and characters began to take shape.
Once I got to the night of the accident, I froze. I sat at my computer, tears streaming down my face, but I didn’t give up.
I love the spoken and written word, and I love writing. It’s taken me a lifetime to become a published author, and that's okay.
I continue to write from my home office, a sleeping porch, in a historic home in Central NJ.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite

What a Trip: A Novel by Susen Edwards is a well-crafted coming-of-age tale with solid characters and a gripping plot. Character-focused, the story follows Fiona who is going through a turbulent period in her life, still figuring out what is best for her. She is intelligent and beautiful, and her best friend, Melissa, is in a difficult relationship, one without a future. Melissa gets pregnant and after aborting the baby, she spends a week with Fiona in Florida where they get acquainted with tarot cards. Fiona is uncertain and hesitant and maintains caution, but Melissa quickly develops an obsession with the occult. After their time in Florida, Fiona dates Reuben, a political activist and journalism major. Afraid of being drafted into the army, Reuben decides to move to Canada and he wants Fiona to come with him. Fiona has to choose between her relationship with Reuben and the dreams she has grown up with.

Susen Edwards creates a realistic and resonant protagonist in Fiona, a character that poignantly mirrors the struggles and challenges of young people. The novel is littered with historical hints, capturing moments like the Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam and the Kent State University shootings. The social commentaries are engaging and they add a deeper layer of realism to the story. The author sets the story at a time when war ignited protests in the US and when the sex culture and rock 'n' roll set the cultural pace. I loved the crisp writing, with gorgeous descriptions and dialogues. The author’s exploration of internal conflict — exemplified in Fiona — is eloquent and it augments character depth. What a Trip: A Novel is flavorful, a balanced story that brims with realism and features intelligently written characters.

John F. Wilkie

Wicked cool.