Review: Of School and Women, by D.S. Marquis

Of School and Women by D.S. Marquis is a riveting, nostalgic dive into the past. It’s brilliantly written and humorous, cleverly mingling cultural nostalgia with great life lessons. I wasn’t living in the United States during the 80s, but in all democratic countries the same fundamental changes in standards of living were taking place, and similar critical societal issues were being felt worldwide. It was like hopping into a time machine and being brought back to a simpler way of life, of better social communication, and a time when we were devoid of today’s existential worries.

Lynette and Marie are two college students in Tallahassee, Florida, who despite their different personalities become fast friends and confidantes, while navigating life’s challenges with bravery and resourcefulness. Through their commitment to their education and work, they are determined to put past mistakes behind them and build a foundation for a better future.

The story touches on some sensitive themes, like drinking, drugs, domestic abuse and human trafficking, though the details are woven naturally and casually into the narrative, without weighing it down. It paints a vivid picture of life before the internet and social media, when interpersonal relationships meant getting together and enjoying each other’s company, or simply showing up to apply for a job. The unrestricted comings and goings in Lynette’s workplace are a great example of the higher degree of freedom enjoyed back then, when circulating liberally in airport terminals was a luxury no longer accessible in today’s society.

D.S. Marquis does a phenomenal job of recreating the spirit, the vernacular and carefree, unhindered lifestyle of the times, tapping into her own experiences as a college student. The characters are vibrantly relatable, each in their own captivating way, the narrative attention-grabbing. It certainly gave me more than a few smiles while reading.

Not quite fiction, nor non-fiction, but thoroughly entertaining and thought-provoking. A refreshing, evocative read, one I recommend to all readers over 18.

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