Growth and Change Are Highly Overrated is a classic coming-of-age story that takes a unique and comic look at what we all fear— having to grow up and abandon our dreams. For a charismatic man like Lucas James, life is a breeze because everyone else provides the wind. This man-child front man for a mediocre cover band has been mooching off of his fiancée Jackie for years until she finally decides she’s had enough. Faced with the reality of having no income to support his carefree lifestyle, Lucas James abandons his principles and gets a job working in the stockroom at, “That Store.” How does he cope with this new found sense of responsibility? He casually steals… In a life spent bucking authority, how will Lucas James deal with his manager, ‘Victor the Dictator’? How long can he survive Ralph, a starry-eyed coworker who desires nothing more than to be best friends? Will Lori, a twenty-something cashier, be like everyone else and fall for his charms? Will he ever find a place to live? And is “growing up” just another way of saying “selling out?” With this hilarious and engaging novel, author Tom Starita perfectly captures a character we have all met and perhaps some of us know all too well.
So let’s start at the beginning. Tom is my LinkedIn contact, a fellow author. That makes us cyber friends. A homeboy from NY and I won’t hold it against him that he prefers baseball to hockey. It’s Staten Island vs Long Island, trust me. One day, a message pops up, and Tom asks me if I’d like to review his new book, Growth, and Change are Highly Overrated. With a title like that, how could I refuse?
This book was penned as honestly and humorously as possible. Let’s look at the title – I mean, who wants to grow up? Ever? Lucas James, the protagonist, is a self-serving narcissist, seeking the life of a rock and roll god. Oh yes, the middle child, he thrives on trouble, the spotlight, and some huge faux pas. (is that plural?)
So Lucas James, (always both names) has pissed off his fiancée Jackie. Yes, Rock God Extraordinaire has that big hit inside, and it is just a matter of time before he makes it big time. But honestly, it’s time to toss that towel to the side for a while and face reality. Lucas James lies, steals, and doesn’t believe in working, paying rent or other things adults see as regular parts of living. But he does live a heck of a life. When Jackie leaves him penniless and bleeding on the kitchen floor (he stepped on glass- no murder mystery here folks) Lucas has a tough decision to make. Without much thought, he finds a cheaper accommodation and gets a job.
Very reluctantly, Lucas James becomes a stock boy in “that store.” He battles daily with Victor the Dictator, his power hungry, controlling manager, tries avoiding his coworker Ralph, who proudly declares Lucas James his best friend ever, and falls for Lori, the cashier. While full of lies, he forges a strange triumvirate of camaraderie with these two and steals everything he can get his sticky fingers on in the stockroom. Lucas James begins to settle into a pattern of “normalcy” while pretending to be an adult. As the plot twists, Lucas must decide whether or not the life he is living is worth compromising, or if as the title suggests, “Growth and Change are Highly Overrated.”
The first person narrative is light and easy to read…also easy to ignore the outside world in exchange for some words of wisdom (or non-wisdom). Lucas allows his sense of entitlement to propel him through life, and the anecdotes he shares are hilarious. Lighthearted and humorous, Lucas James is a character who will embezzle his way into your heart. His journey to independence and “adultting” will have you laughing out loud. They’ll probably remind you of that one friend or family member who just refuses to grow up. I loved this book.
Tom, thank you for sharing this with me. In Lucas, you have captured that one friend – the character in the group we all know too well. Overall a fun read; call it a journey to Neverland…where growing up is never an option.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Five stars from Morning Beans Blog on this book. Bravo!