Book review: ‘Reunion’
Ryan Summerlin February 6, 2014
Don’t let the title of “Reunion” mislead you. Written by longtime Lake Tahoe Basin resident Bruce Simonian, the book is indeed about a reunion, but you won’t get to that until chapter 22. “Reunion” is the essence of a true love story with special emphasis on family, friends and faith. It’s about being home even when you’re far away and about commitment and courage when the chips are down. But forgiveness is at the core of Simonian’s story. Many readers will find it relatable in some variation or another. He tells it from his own personal kaleidoscope, leaving you to sort out factual events from fictional accounts. Although the dates and names are changed for obvious reasons, it is based on a true story. The Lake Tahoe setting makes it feel up close and personal. The North Shore is particularly in focus and, if you’re a local, you’ll appreciate the familiar Tahoe references. You’ll also probably have a keen understanding when his character Shane refers to himself as “a mountain boy”.
Do you like baseball? You’ll be treated to some on-the-field action as the story kicks off. Shane, an aspiring baseball player from Incline High School is destined to go pro. Scholarships await him once he wraps up his senior year. One from Arizona State University and another from UC Berkeley are especially appealing. Shane’s future looks exceptionally bright by anybody’s account, not only because of his baseball prowess and good looks, but because he’s also smart, focused and from a supportive and loving family. Gina, Shane’s high school sweetheart is, well… nearly perfect. Outside of being drop-dead beautiful and the recipient of various academic awards at her high school graduation ceremony, she is an aspiring doctor with an infectious personality and many friends. Gina has a loving family to call her own as well. Her father, a minister, provides grief counseling in their community and is well known, established and highly respected by all. It seems as though Shane and Gina are fated to be together, but then one mistake changes the trajectory of their lives and alters the future they envisioned. It sends them in separate directions, leaving behind conflicted families, shameful secrets and broken hearts. And that’s only the beginning of the story.
Many of us can relate to the fact that one tiny episode can change everything. One decision, one choice, one moment in time can make a dream come true or shatter it. A series of these small but historical moments make up the whole of our lives as it did for Shane and Gina. “Reunion” offers this common thread to its readers. It emphasizes family ties and the importance of compassion and forgiveness. When you get down to it, “Reunion” is really a story about life, its sadness, its joys and its complexity. One thing remains true: It’s always exactly as it should be in the end.
You can order “Reunion” through Tate Publishing at www.tatepublishing.com. Panache and IV Coffee Lab in Incline Village carry copies as well. “Reunion” e-books are also available through Barnes & Noble and www.amazon.com.
Gloria Sinibaldi resides part time in South Lake Tahoe. Her short story, “A Means To Survive,” appears in “Tahoe Blues.” She is a job coach, trainer and author. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.