This story is one of the finest pieces of writing available at Storiesonline.
rlfj has written several very good stories over the years, but this one, along with another one almost as good - The Grim Reaper - is superb.
The main character goes back in time for "a fresh start", and the author ties his life experiences in with the events of the time. The supporting characters are also appealing, and have a depth to them that most authors don't seem to be able to achieve. All of the main characters develop over the course of the story, and rlfj's style of writing is extremely appealing.
There is a goodly amount of dry humor throughout the story, which makes it even more readable in my opinion, and there are very few grammatical or typographical errors.
This is a l-l-l-o-n-n-n-g story (over 6 MB!) so it'll take a while to read, but you'll find that the investment of time is well rewarded. I've read it twice (!), and even bought the Kindle version so that there's always something good to read on my iPad whenever I'm traveling, or even just have a few minutes to kill.
rlfj has done a terrific job tying the main character's timeline to the events of the day, and the the quality of his writing transforms this unbelievable story into something very believable after all. Like I always felt when reading Robert Heinlein years ago, if you can accept the believability of the story's main premise, the rest just flows, absorbing you into the story.
Superb story; well worth the time spent reading it.
Reviewed: 2016-07-26 - (Review Updated: 2016-07-26)
It feels like I have been off SOL for almost a month, and it has been about 3 weeks, but that is because of the length of the two stories I have been reading. Since I was going to take a weeklong vacation around the beginning of the month, I decided to go ahead and fork over some money to buy a couple of stories that I could read while on the road, where I would not have Internet available. That said, I purchased one all-time favorite (The Grim Reaper) by rlfj, and decided that I might need a second book, so I chose A Fresh Start from his list of available books to purchase as well.
The books were much, much longer than I recall, with this one being the equivalent of more than 10 full length novels. As such, it has simply taken me this long to read both in my spare time. I did take the time to revise my review of The Grim Reaper to fit my current style and standards.
This story is about Carl Buckman. At the beginning, he is an older man who has seen much go wrong not only in his personal life, but in the world in general. He stops by a store one day, and finds what might be Aladdin's lamp. Without thinking, he makes a wish to be a teenager again, and the next thing he knows, he is back in his 13 year old self back in the 1970s, but with all his memories from his previous life. This story tells the tale of his journey through his new life.
For plot, the story is extraordinary, and deserves a 10. If you don't like political discourse, this might not be the story for you. In his new life, that is one thing that we see the MC comment on, and the commentary might be offensive to some. Personally, I liked it.
For technical quality, another extraordinary 10. I found less than 3 dozen errors spread out across more than 1 million words.
For personal appeal, another outstanding 10. Although couched in the idea of a do-over, the story to me is really a romance. The MC, even having changed his life enough to do anything that he wanted to by the time he got to college, instead chose to repeat his choice of college for the sole purpose of meeting the woman to whom he was married in a past life. In his new life, he married her again, so it truly is a love story for the ages. The tale mixes in just enough laughter with some very serious topics, so don't expect this to be a light read. This review, by the way, includes the epilogue, which is a separate story on SOL but is part of the purchased work.
This is the story of Carling, a man who has a second chance at living his life - and really, rlfj is telling the story of a whole lifetime.
What's really interesting is Carl is someone who truly appreciated his life the first time, and his second time he's making up for past regrets, but seems to treasure certain parts of his life from the first go round and wouldn't change them for the world.
There's a lot of love in his relationships, a lot of loyalty and a lot of growth, even living a life a second time.
Carl grows from boyhood to manhood and fatherhood across the course of the chapters, and they're all detailed and brilliant and will have you laughing, crying and intrigued with what Carl is going to do next.
One of the best stories I've ever read and I'm eager for each chapter as it comes out, and if you give it a chance you will be too!
I have been a reader on SOL year for a long time. I have enjoyed many of the stories but look forward to those that hold a significant but unique plot. There have been numerous stories that have gone into the arc of second chance lives. Most of these wander to far from what they could do. I seldom get a story that I can’t wait for the next chapter. R1fj’s “A Fresh Start” is one of those that I can’t wait for the next chapter. He keeps his true love and his core person but changes his personal dynamic. It is unique to what I have read and I can’t wait for the next installment.
An excellent story, as a fan of Doing it over by Al Steiner, I was naturally drawn to this. There have been a few out there like Twice Lucky that have never been finished or are just to terrible to read.
Fortunately, it seems as though rlfj is a man with a plan, having posted tons of chapters since its conception. It's a huge story and well written and researched. Definitely worth a read.
This is good stuff. The 'do over' genre has been well and it's been done poorly. So far, this is very well done.
Carlton (Carl) is getting another chance at being a teenager and, like many of us, he remembers all that teen angst. He's determined to avoid it.
Sex is a big driver as it should be in any good story. Not quite a stroke but it's plentiful. I really like the efforts the author makes to raise Carl's skill level. Most readers remember the awkward part of sex. If given a fresh start (with 30 years of memories), making sure I was a sexual dynamo would be high on my list.
The story is building and it's ringing true with people and emotions. This is one that I stay current on.