Some seniors, ill-equipped to face their new reality; the value of their lost dreams was held at the same value as life itself. For others, life was life and folks just moved on. They tightened their belts, formed communities, and found new ways to thrive using the old ways of their forebears, technology, guile, and a little hustle.
Through richly developed characters like Fat Nancy, Big Steve Waterman, Whitey, and the Sanchez Sisters, Doug Richards tells about one community located in Red Bluff, California, created by happenstance under the provisions of the Federal Real Property Repurposing Act of 2025. That community became The Red Bluff Senior Project, aka the Block. Richards looks back at that time with fondness and humor using a compilation of anecdotes to tell the Block's story and to describe the challenges and triumphs he called old glory.
The Block is a near-future what-if story, showcasing Richard Seaman’s incredibly strong characterization as he describes how a motley group of older people band together and find ways to cope without the health care, the pensions, and the government support they’d been told to expect all their lives. Doug Richards is the protagonist of the story, and his first-person narration lets you experience his resilience and courage first-hand as he and his neighbors learn to look after themselves, working odd jobs and gleaning crops when they need to, and using barter for skills and equipment around the neighborhood to make sure that everyone can eat. This book will give you a glimpse of ordinary people in old bodies and extraordinary circumstances, and make you smile through tears.
This was a very powerful read. As a reader, you will lose yourself in Doug's story, and forget your age and his until the story reminds you of it like a kick in the teeth. Richard Seaman binds together courage, laughter, love, and loss in one compelling novella that will keep you thinking long after you put it down.
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