Friendship is a bond that is not dictated by vows, contracts, or forced obligation. It is a choice that is made many times throughout a lifetime and a gift freely given. It is not bound by distance, not measured by years, and for some once in a lifetime friendships, not hindered by life nor death.
Sunlight: The Story of a Girl Who Didn't Laugh and a Boy Who Wished to Fly by Hugh Anthony Levine is a story of such friendship. Jake and Lynn have been friends since birth. Very early in life, they have shared most experiences together. Their parents are good friends, so it is not uncommon to see both families melded into one during special occasions and regularly help each other raise, Jake and Lynn.
The two children shared a special bond. Lynn supported Jake in his dream of flight. Jake was very protective of Lynn as they were growing up. As they followed their dreams and built their own lives, the two friends have always remained in each other's lives no matter how far away from each other they were.
Jake and Lynn have faced many challenges in their lifetime, always leaning on each other, exactly like a family would. They have faced relationships, happiness, and loss together. One of the biggest challenges that they have confronted is one that has been birthed from a great deal of pain but has led them to save a lot of lives.
Sunlight is a heartfelt story that takes us to reminisce from 1956 to 2001. The story of Jake and Lynn is enveloped in the rich backdrop of the events of that time, including the Vietnam War, the sexual revolution, the dawn of the internet, as well as the many milestones of their own lives. Sunlight is a rich story that offers a lot of heart, lessons, and things to ponder even after the last page.
Reviews and What Readers Say
" I thought Sunlight would be a cozy walk down memory lane, through a quaint, rural farming community. The backdrop where the saga and drama of Best Friends Forever, would be played out, and a study in true friendship. Levine slowly draws you into this fictional story but, reminds you at the very beginning to tie a string around your pinky finger, just so you remember it is a story, and what a master story teller Levine is. Friendship, heartbreak, sorrow and tragedy unfold, with a bill eventually being proposed and signed into law. You question and ask yourself if this really happened. Just remember the string on your pinky finger! "
— Judy Mazzucco, Amazon Reader's Review
" Interesting story of childhood dreams and friendships turning into valuable life lessons. Skin and other cancers steal lives but survivors can take actions to teach and help others."
— Frieda Cooney, Amazon Reader's Review
" I started reading Sunlight on a short plane ride. I wish the plane ride had been transcontinental because I became immersed in the lives of two people, one of whom I recognized as having a lot of the author in him. The passion for flight, especially motorless flight, reminded me of Wolfgang Langewiesche's book "Stick and Rudder", a 1944 work in which the art of flying is explained. What I took from Sunlight is the same: the earth is beautiful seen from a cockpit. Why ever pull down a window shade on a plane? The chapters in Sunlight are short, its pace quick while painting a tableau of two youngsters as they mature and live their dreams. Surprisingly, Sunlight hits one's sentiments and will bring tears to one's eyes. The two main characters are easy to like, however different they may be. I couldn't help but root for the pilot's romance with the company rep to blossom. Levine is a wonderful raconteur and his writing style lets the imagination turn the text into a movie inside the reader's brain. I tried to predict at times what would happen next. I got it wrong each time. Tear-jerk: yes; knee-jerk: no. A wonderful read by a wonderful writer."
—Paul F. DeMeester, Amazon Reader's Review
" A soaring, historical novel... Its two protagonists, who hail from a small town in New Jersey, share an enviable friendship that spans decades despite their divergent personalities, life choices and the vicissitudes of time. The novel resonates with one protagonist's passion for flight, and the other's authenticity as she, in spite of her seemingly modest ambitions, becomes a catalyst for new aviation regulations. Levine's tragic narrative, an elixir of fact and fiction with bittersweet emotion and humor, proves uplifting -- an antidote to today's rampant disaffection and anomie."
— E. D. Jay, Amazon Reader's Review
" This book was a real page turner. I couldn’t put it down. It’s about people who lived their dreams, but also had to live with the adversities that came their way."
—Harriett Walker, Amazon Reader's Review
Book Talk: Sunlight: The Story of a Girl Who Didn’t Laugh and a Boy Who Wished to Fly by Hugh Anthony Levine
Review by Alice Herman
Disclosure: This article is a personal endorsement of the professional reviewer. The BookWalker is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
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Authors who lead colorful lives tend to write colorful books. Take Ernest Hemingway, whose novels draw upon his own kaleidoscopic experience as a journalist, war correspondent, world traveler, big-game hunter, big-game fisherman, bon vivant.
HUGH ANTHONY LEVINE would be the first to acknowledge he's no Hemingway, yet brings to his own writings — two novels and two true-crime books — his not-dissimilar background as a country boy from rural New Jersey who became a homicide prosecutor in Manhattan and San Francisco followed by a long career as a highly regarded criminal defense lawyer, all while touring scores of countries, flying gliders at soaring sites across America, skippering his sportfishing boats off California's coast, even tackling and subduing an escaping double murderer. Married, with two adult children, he lives in a suburb of San Francisco and enjoys saltwater fly fishing, biking, hiking, cooking, and travel.