banner1-2
banner2-2

Reviews

TITLE INFORMATION
HAPPENSTANCE
Lester Fisher
AuthorHouse (684 pp.)
$42.99 hardcover, $28.99 paperback, $2.99 e-book
ISBN: 978-1-66553-599-1
September 7, 2021

BOOK REVIEW

In this debut memoir, a man recounts his loves and experiences as a young seminarian and later a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa.

Fisher, who goes by Mike Klungness (his middle name and stepfather’s surname) in his book, opens with a “passing overview” of his life. Readers discover that the 60-something has children and that his third (and current) wife is his first love, whom he met when they were teens. Then the author focuses on Klungness’ intricate journey. He was born in 1947 to a single mother who moved to Washington state after she married. Roman Catholic school led to his enrollment in St. Francis Seminary. Though he was quickly smitten with neighbor Gretchen Huffhines, his studies to be a priest meant they would stay merely friends. Klungness eventually left the seminary, hoping to walk down the aisle with Huffhines. But as the Vietnam War raged, he felt he had few options beyond applying to the Peace Corps. He went to his Kenya assignment alone and immersed himself in an entirely new culture, all while racial unrest unsettled his home country. He also fell for Charity Mshoi, a mother of three young children who became his common-law wife. Once his tour ended, he planned to bring his new family to the States. Despite the work’s 672-page length and Fisher’s overview that takes readers into the 21st century, the memoir ends in the early ’70s. A sequel will follow. The author includes memorable details in this first installment, from Africa’s vast landscape and local foods to the treatment for the atrophied leg of Mshoi’s son. There’s a lively focus on many of the people in Klungness’ life, such as his mother, and though this autobiography occasionally hops around decades, it’s never confusing. Fisher enriches his book with snippets of other sources, like newspaper articles, as well as Klungness’ written correspondence with Huffhines and her mom Jana’s delightfully pithy journal entries. The author moreover adds copious photographs. Only some of them are Fisher’s own pictures—and those are the most rewarding.

An absorbing personal account of life’s unpredictable turns.


Jithendra Jithu
(787 reviews in goodreads.com)
Happenstance
By Lester Fisher
Rating:5/5
Review:

“Happenstance” by Lester Fisher is an engrossing exploration of one young man’s odyssey through the convoluted landscape of postwar America. This intricately woven tale unravels against the backdrop of a nation undergoing seismic shifts in various domains—technology, global influence, civil rights, and social dynamics. Fisher’s narrative follows the life of the protagonist, a “bastard boomer,” as he traverses a series of life-altering events and choices that mirror the broader metamorphosis of the United States.

Beginning with a wrenching separation from his single mother, the protagonist’s trajectory is set in motion by his grandfather’s intervention, leading him to Camp Pondosa and eventually the “planned city” of Longview, Washington. Fisher’s meticulous attention to detail paints a vivid portrait of the protagonist’s journey, from his working-class roots to his immersion in the stratified milieu of a mill town and its distinct social hierarchies.

The narrative further delves into the protagonist’s stint at a Catholic school, which fosters a transformative journey toward a potential priestly vocation. However, love’s allure proves stronger, propelling him into the arms of his high school sweetheart and onto the campus of the University of Washington. Here, the story encapsulates the tumultuous years of the late 1960s, marked by the Vietnam War and societal upheavals.

The protagonist’s dual pursuit of a Naval Officer Candidate School (NOCS) position and a spot in the Peace Corps sets the stage for a pivotal turning point. Fisher adeptly captures the internal conflicts and external pressures faced by a young man navigating a world in flux. The narrative gains depth as the protagonist’s path leads him to the hills of Taita, Kenya, where his involvement with a local woman and her children reveals the intersection of personal desires and societal obligations.


⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Zaphod , Special Education Teacher and Administrator.  September 06, 2023  in Powell’s Books  powellsbooks.com
Very interesting read. The author shows how happenstance may have been the greatest factor in how he progressed through life. From a challenging childhood he moved to a successful career in an area of science related to insects, trees, and especially honeybees. I am amazes at the author’s introspection and candidacy. He really was an amazing adventurer in his life! Since I grew up and lived my life in Washington, I was familiar with many of the locales he wrote about, and the authenticity rings true to me.


David Eatwell
Dept. of Defense Information Specialist with a focus in Broadcast News. and Instructional Systems Designer at the USAF Weather School.

5.0 out of 5 stars Happenstance: A Brief Review on Amazon.com
Reviewed in the United States on June 26, 2022

This book stands out among the hundreds of books I have read in my life as the only one of them written by someone I knew. I also was a student at St. Francis Seminary in Springdale, OR in 1963 and ‘64. Though only a freshman, the author, whom everyone called “Klugy” as a derivative of his surname “Klungness”, was well known to me and my classmates as one of the few upper class men who treated us like human beings. He was friendly and funny and well-liked. Those traits shine through his life story.

I also shared with Klugy an early life in a logging community, though it was in the Cascades on the east slopes of the Willamette Valley, a few hundred miles northeast of his childhood digs in Northern California. Though we took divergent tracks after the seminary, Klugy and I came close to direct contact again, as I moved to Centralia, WA in 2001 and worked at City Hall, a block from the Weyerhaeuser HQ. Furthermore, recently, while talking with colleagues in my Rotary Club about the book, “Happenstance”, I come to find out that some of them also worked at Weyerhaeuser at the same time and remember Klugy well and fondly, though they did not recognize the “Klugy” appellation.

One need not have actually known the author to enjoy reading this book, though after reading it, the reader will feel they have known him their entire lives. As one would expect from a memoir titled “Happenstance”, the story rambles. One might think that it lacks direction, but through use of fore-shadowing and other time shifting tricks, a consistent forward motion is maintained. And when the reader reaches what might be expected to be the end . . . . don’t be so quick to jump to that conclusion! The end of the story is not the end of the book, as there are 80 pages of fascinating end notes, factoids on a wide range of topics, people, events, processes, and geography.

In spite of the fact that Klugy was present for the entirety of the life portrayed in the book, he did a masterful job of researching the sidelights that add so much color and texture to his experiences. There is much insight shared about the culture of logging communities of the Pacific Northwest, the Franciscan order (officially the Order of Friars Minor), the workings of the Peace Corps, and tribal histories and cultures of sub-Saharan Africa.

The author teases the reader with the revelation that “Happenstance” was just Volume 1 and Volume II is in the works. I can’t wait!


Copied from GoodReads.com
Happenstance Review
Hello! I read Happenstance and liked it. My favorite parts included Gretchen, of course. You certainly have lead a varied and interesting life. Kudos to you for putting it down on paper, as many of us think about it but never do it. Very good job! Your friend,  –Cheryl Oldham


Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Tales of Growing Up and Growing Older
Reviewed in the United States on October 16, 2021
Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed the first part of this book because,like the author, I grew up in the 60s. There was much that I could relate to. The rest of the book taught me a lot about things I didn’t know … about beekeeping, the Peace Corps, Kenya. And through it all was the journey to finally be with the author’s beloved Gretchen.


Happenstance 5 of 5 stars
By Lester Fisher
Don Snook, PhD in English, rated this book in Goodreads.com
with the comment “It was amazing”
Sept. 26 2021 06:08 AM


Admiral Phillip Lee Sowa Your “Happenstance” looks great. Love your writing style. BTW (interesting that you signed up for the Navy). I signed up just in time myself cuz got my draft notice shortly thereafter.


Comments from Daniel van Dyke
Aloha Klugy,
Thanks for the book which I received about a week ago. It was in great condition and as of five minutes ago I finished reading it from cover to cover (sans the endnotes). It was fascinating reading about your PC tour. [] Your experience was quite different and I couldn’t even pronounce many of the names of the people in your Kenya experience!
I really enjoyed the section on the Troubadours. I doubt that I would ever have taken up the guitar if it weren’t for SFS! It made a huge difference in my life over the past 60 years.
–Dan


Comments from Rick McGiff
Hi Mike,

I got the book and am enjoying it alot! You have had an interesting life. I am impressed with your ability to remember all the events and places and things you have done. Me…I’m not so sure about three days ago.

I got a kick out of your relationship with Susan Colombero. Her dad was the town’s controller…or some title/job to that effect which is why they lived on the hill. I thought the name of their street was something else when we were growing up. Steven Colombero was killed in the VietNam war and I thought they named the street after him. Susan was my first “date”. When we were in the 6th grade, I asked her to go to the movies with me (the movie house being the only thing to do when we were that age). The movie was H.G Well’s “The Time Machine”. Still remember the movie and the date. Ah, Puppy Love.


Chuck Howe”[PC Volunteer Ag-5 Kenya]

“Went straight to chapter 19 [where the Kenya chapters begin].  Brought back memories of motorcycle accidents.  Hitting dog, dik dik, stone, dust pit, oncoming vehicle, yah me too.  Motorcycle quiting in the middle of Tsavo [Game Park] on the way back home from Wundanyi at 5:00 pm.

Girls… prettiest on the planet.  I believe there is more there than our male hormones driving us crazy.

Of course came the memories of lost children, and some parents, too.  Maleria, amoebic dysentery, and everything else were all too common.

Thank you for the trip back.  All of it – the fun parts and the hard/sad parts too.


Lester M. Klungness
February 4, 2022, 10:56 pm

Larry Franks [US Peace Corps Ag V Kenya 1969]

I just finished reading the first two volumes of your memoirs; congratulations on seeing them all the way through. [] You certainly have led a life with plenty of surprising bends in the road. Not sure everything is happenstance, though. In fact, I’m beguiled by the notion that there are no true coincidences in life — cause and effect may not be obvious at first, but things do happen for a reason, however obscure the connections may be. []
I agree with your thesis that Peace Corps probably provided more benefits to the volunteers, and to US society as a whole, than to the countries where Peace Corps operated. At least those benefits weren’t the kind that [have] come with colonial exploitation; [rather Peace Corps’ impact has been] more along the lines of better understanding of how the world works.
All the best,


Lester M. Klungness
February 15, 2022, 8:34 pm

Hans Meier
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazon review
A look inside a friend
Reviewed in the United States on February 14, 2022
Verified Purchase
This book, one of three, and the longest, has given me insight into Lester. I now know more about him than before (and more than I wanted to in some cases, lol). Had he not written this, my relationship with him would be more towards the superficial. What I know now gives it more depth. You don’t have to be acquainted with Lester to find interesting things within these (electronic) pages. They give a look at a time past, and how those times impacted and influenced a “regular “ person. At least their perspective.


Lester M. Klungness
February 15, 2022, 8:38 pm

G.H. Klungness
5.0 out of 5 stars on Amazon
A story for our times
Reviewed in the United States on February 14, 2022
“Happenstance” is written by my loving husband, so clearly my review is probably not completely unbiased. It’s his story, but it’s mine too – and he writes just like he talks, telling the story of his life, the times he lived them, the people and places that populated it, and accurately and thoroughly relates the details, good and bad, of the beginning of our lives together. It made me laugh, cry, and remember things I had completely forgotten. I treasure these words and pages.


Lester M. Klungness
February 28, 2022, 9:14 am

Pinkie Paranya (author of Rasberry Rainbows: Woman to Woman, and a number of novels) rated Happenstance five stars ***** on http://www.goodreads.com, Feb. 22 2022.

Also  reviewed by Amazon customer 5 out of 5 stars
Happenstance by Lester Fisher is a jewel of a book. Although he is not from my generation, I can easily relate to his school years and growing up, He shows such amazing insights into thoughts and remembrances from those years and I can see and understand his progress in becoming the man he is today.  His recall of events in his life is phenomenal. He never falls back on excess drama or platitudes but remains honest throughout the book. As I continue reading, I feel closer to him as a person and thankful to have known him, for he has enriched my life. I can’t wait to read the following books.


Lester M. Klungness
February 28, 2022, 9:22 am

Wendy Horner of the Seychelles rated Happenstance 4 stars **** http://www.goodreads.com on Feb.12 2022.


Lester M. Klungness
March 11, 2022, 8:32 pm

**** (4 out of 5 stars) on Powell’ Books
Lee Meier , March 10, 2022
This review is slightly biased. In the early sixties, I was enrolled and attended Saint Francis Seminary along with the author. He was two years my senior, so it was fun to visit that time period from his perspective and hear the rest of the stories behind the myths and legends. Mike has a memory for details and spins a cohesive, if sometimes wandering, story. Reading about his time in the Peace Corps opened up a new world for me and helped me to understand its purpose. This was a fun read. Thanks for sharing, Mike.


Ronnie Eaton
Retired Supervising Regulatory Biologist, Alameda County CA.

I think that some of the people (maybe all?) who you say liked your book, did in fact like it! Not just because they are friends, but, if they also lived along with you in your early life, they were once again able to relive it through the retelling of the story; it’s essentially their story too. I do enjoy your writing too. [] I did enjoy learning about your early road in life and you do write well. I would suggest that you stop including sentences like “I can’t remember if… ” and similar sentences, because they don’t add anything and actually become an annoyance to the reader; there are far more of them than you realize! Only include such a sentence if it has direct consequence on what is to follow.[] There, done with my editorial comments!! I realize that you’ve accomplished what most of us could not and have done a really nice job of it, so take my comments with the appropriate writer’s ‘tough skin’ and know that I admire your accomplishment!!


Dakshita Matta rated it four out of five stars on www.goodreads.com

This memoir is one of the lengthiest memoirs I have ever read yet, a worthy investment of my time. The author has done extensive work in depicting the complex relationships of the people around him.

The author has not only included the details of his own life but has started the journey of this memoir from his parent’s childhood. The author has also made use of his journal entries as well as of others to emphasize the psychology remained period. This book also explains the effect that various world wars had on the common man and how surviving became the primary goal for them instead of thriving.

The author has done tremendous work in reminiscing about his past to write this book. This book includes many painful incidents too, which must have been traumatizing for the author to relive for the sake of this book.
In my view, this memoir has remained to be underrated now and the author has not been able to get his due recognition.

This book can also serve as a self-help guide to motivate you to keep going through the days when you lose all hope and reach rock bottom. Looking forward to reading the sequel of this memoir soon.


Carol Kotewicz-Dencker
5.0 out of 5 stars
added a status update on goodreads.com:

This book was written by a friend of mine. Initially, I said, I have to read this huge book and there is no way out of it. Friend and all… Well, I take it all back, Lester, I have loved this book and the very sly humor you have. It is the OUR ERA facts, dates, setting that is so nostalgic. If progeny want to know how we lived and thought and tried to save our world, they must pick this up and read!!


Maryanne Peluso
4.0 out of 5 stars Very well written, filled with lots of interesting, historical information
Reviewed in the United States on October 27, 2022
Verified Purchase

“Happenstance” is an interesting memoir. However, it is a bit long. Some of the details got somewhat tedious at times. But there were a lot of interesting historical facts. Many things that I did not know. As a devout Roman Catholic and former Franciscan Religious Sister, I enjoyed Lester’s stories from his time in the Franciscan Seminary. I liked his usage of Sacred Scripture throughout the book as well as his use of poetry. Although, I am not a fan of poetry in general – I really like the poems shared in this book. “Happenstance” is very well written, and it flows very nicely. The only constructive criticism that I can share and my reason for giving it 4 stars and not 5 is that there was a lot of narration. A lot of “telling” and not enough “showing.” In other words, there was very little dialogue between the “characters” in the book.


Erin
5.0 out of 5 stars A long read, but totally worth it!!
Reviewed in the United States on March 28, 2023
Verified Purchase

So, I was a little late on the trend of reading this book, probably because I never really read what it was about or else I most likely would’ve been right there on the bandwagon reading another book that promised reality better than any fiction could provide. But I felt as though Fisher pushes it a little further, providing a dark glimpse not only into his life but also the effects it has on his mind. It is that kind of writing that makes this book 5 stars. The clarity and the courage also stand out, and in that way it is a throwback.

This book was just a crazy world that no one could really believe possible to live through and then be able to tell the story about it so wonderfully. There are parts in it that were hard to read but really showed the human side which is ultimately what makes this book so great. Lester Fisher writes his life in such a beautiful way that it makes you want to keep on reading.

With that being said, this book, in my opinion is a required reading. If you are a human being living in America, you must read this book. If you are an alien from another planet, reading this book is probably also required. Fisher is a great writer. I’d enjoy his writing if he wrote about other topics but this is especially timely and important. The writing could be too abstract for some but I found it poetic. Biggest qualm is that it’s too long.

Read this book. Then read it again. Read it to memorization and then conjure up its lines as you pass through the streets of your city. Absolutely foundational reading, and unexpectedly gorgeous even when it wrestles with ugly things. Fisher is one of the finest writers working today. It is timely and personal and I found it illuminating. He revisits many of the experiences and themes of his life, but with added lyricism. I definitely learned a lot from reading this book. It’s a book one should read once a year!!


From GoodReads.com

Emmaa
5.0 out of 5 stars

Experience the captivating journey of a “bastard boomer” as he navigates the maze of postwar America in “Happenstance” by Lester Fisher. From his tumultuous upbringing, wrenched from his single mother and brought to Camp Pondosa by his Woods Manager grandfather, to the shocking transition to Longview, Washington, this country-bumpkin kid finds himself immersed in a socially stratified mill town. Attending Catholic School, the protagonist’s path takes an unexpected turn as he becomes entangled in the world of Catholic indoctrination and the Franciscan Seminary. However, love beckons, and he leaves behind the pursuit of a priestly vocation to be with the woman he has cherished since his fifteenth year. As the first collegiate in his family, the protagonist and his beloved venture into the daunting halls of the University of Washington. Graduation approaches against the backdrop of the turbulent 1969, where options for youth are scarce due to the Vietnam War. While pursuing opportunities with the Naval Officer Candidate School and the Peace Corps, a twist of fate leads him to Kenya, leaving behind his xenophobic fiancé. In the idyllic Hills of Taita, a new chapter unfolds as the protagonist becomes romantically involved with a Taito woman and her three children. However, their happiness is cut short when his military induction notice forces him to part ways with his newfound family. By happenstance, the course of his life is forever altered by the actions of Richard Nixon. Through the eyes of one young man, “Happenstance” chronicles the most transformative period in United States history, marked by advancements in technology, global influence, wealth, power, popular unrest, and human rights. Witness the evolution of America from an isolationist and racist enclave to its present state—an enigmatic blend of confusion, liberation, imperialism, and ideological division that captivates the world. Lester Fisher’s powerful storytelling and vivid descriptions transport readers to a time of profound change and self-discovery. “Happenstance” is a thought-provoking tale that illuminates the intricacies of personal growth.


John Polis. National public relations director from 2007-2013 Best Friends Animal Society (bestfdriends.org).

“First, the books. Congratulations on all your hard work. I have been following the excerpts [on Facebook @Lester M Fisher] and have learned so many things that this week I downloaded Happenstance on my Kindle. I’ve been wading into it — really well-done Mike and well-edited, Gretchen — and last night stumbled onto the St. Rose section. I had a big smile on my face reading your memories of our classmates.[] Your memory is something else, Mike. All those details. I still remember our walks home together and was relieved to read that I was nice to you when we were in school.”


Books Reviewer!
{19 reviews in goodreads.com}
5/5 stars

August 14, 2023

In “Happenstance,” Lester Fisher delivers a captivating and deeply personal account of a young man’s odyssey through the transformative era of post-World War II America. With a skillful blend of memoir and historical insight, this narrative offers readers a poignant glimpse into the life of a generation that witnessed and shaped the evolution of a nation.

Set against the backdrop of a rapidly changing America, the book introduces us to a protagonist whose journey is both unique and emblematic of the experiences of countless individuals during the postwar period. Pulled from the embrace of his working-class single mother and brought to Camp Pondosa by his grandfather, the young man’s life takes unexpected turns that resonate with the challenges and opportunities of the time.

Lester Fisher masterfully depicts the cultural shifts and societal changes that defined the era. From the transition to life in a “planned city” to the complex dynamics of Catholic education in a stratified mill town, the narrative immerses readers in a world marked by the clash of tradition and transformation. The protagonist’s foray into the Franciscan Seminary adds depth to his character, illustrating the internal conflicts that mirrored the broader shifts in American society.

As the protagonist navigates the tumultuous 1960s, a period marked by the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement, and social upheaval, his personal choices intersect with the larger currents of history. The narrative’s fluid progression takes readers through pivotal moments, including the protagonist’s decision to shift from the pursuit of priesthood to embrace love and romantic involvement. This juncture of personal desire and historical context forms a compelling narrative arc that captures the essence of a generation in flux.

Lester Fisher skillfully balances intimate personal anecdotes with the broader sweep of historical events.

Mahalo nui loa,
Mike


mentalwellbeingverse on Instagram.com

In “Happenstance” authored by Lester Fisher, readers are engrossed in a young man’s journey through postwar America’s intricate landscape. Set against a backdrop of shifting technology, global influence, civil rights, and social dynamics, the narrative follows the life-altering events and choices of a “bastard boomer” protagonist. His story begins with separation from his mother, guided by his grandfather to Camp Pondosa and the planned city of Longview, Washington. Fisher intricately depicts his progression from working-class origins to navigating the social hierarchies of a mill town.

The protagonist’s experiences at a Catholic school steer him towards priesthood, but love ultimately redirects him to his high school sweetheart and the University of Washington amidst the turbulence of the late 1960s. As the Vietnam War and societal changes define the era, his pursuit of both Naval Officer Candidate School (NOCS) and the Peace Corps shapes a pivotal juncture.

Fisher adeptly captures the internal struggles and external pressures of a young man navigating a transforming world. The narrative gains depth when the protagonist’s journey takes him to Taita, Kenya, unveiling the crossroads of personal desires and societal responsibilities through his relationship with a local woman and her children.


Sean Holder
5/5 star review on Goodreads.com
August 16, 2023

“Happenstance” is a captivating and deeply personal memoir that offers readers a unique window into the tumultuous evolution of postwar America. Written with an engaging and introspective narrative, the book follows the life of a young man who navigates the complexities of a rapidly changing world. From his early years wrenched from a working-class family to his experiences at Camp Pondosa and the challenges of adapting to a new city, the protagonist’s journey is both a reflection of individual growth and a poignant depiction of the broader shifts in society.

The book skillfully delves into the intricacies of the mill town culture, marked by social hierarchies and aspirations. One of the book’s strengths lies in its exploration of the protagonist’s spiritual journey. Starting from Catholic indoctrination to his time at the Franciscan Seminary, the internal conflicts and decisions that shape his path are portrayed with emotional depth and authenticity. The transition from the pursuit of priesthood to the pursuit of love serves as a central turning point that adds layers to the protagonist’s character.

The narrative takes an unexpected and enriching turn as the protagonist enters the University of Washington during the transformative years of the late 1960s. The backdrop of the Vietnam War and the protagonist’s involvement with the Peace Corps bring to light the profound impact of historical events on individual lives. The personal story weaves seamlessly with the broader canvas of social and political changes, offering readers a panoramic view of an era defined by conflicting ideologies and shifting perspectives.

The writing style is evocative and vivid, transporting readers to the different periods and places the protagonist traverses. The author’s ability to blend personal anecdotes with historical insights creates a narrative that is both relatable and educational. “Happenstance” is a remarkable memoir that transcends individual experience to become a reflection of a nation’s transformation. It is a testament to resilience, adaptability, and the power of human connections that transcend borders and eras. This memoir will undoubtedly resonate with readers seeking a deeply personal yet historically enlightening perspective on the profound changes that have shaped modern America.


Jennifer Jacob
Books Reviewer!
19 reviews
5/5 Stars on goodreads.com
August 14, 2023

In “Happenstance,” Lester Fisher delivers a captivating and deeply personal account of a young man’s odyssey through the transformative era of post-World War II America. With a skillful blend of memoir and historical insight, this narrative offers readers a poignant glimpse into the life of a generation that witnessed and shaped the evolution of a nation.

Set against the backdrop of a rapidly changing America, the book introduces us to a protagonist whose journey is both unique and emblematic of the experiences of countless individuals during the postwar period. Pulled from the embrace of his working-class single mother and brought to Camp Pondosa by his grandfather, the young man’s life takes unexpected turns that resonate with the challenges and opportunities of the time.

Lester Fisher masterfully depicts the cultural shifts and societal changes that defined the era. From the transition to life in a “planned city” to the complex dynamics of Catholic education in a stratified mill town, the narrative immerses readers in a world marked by the clash of tradition and transformation. The protagonist’s foray into the Franciscan Seminary adds depth to his character, illustrating the internal conflicts that mirrored the broader shifts in American society.

As the protagonist navigates the tumultuous 1960s, a period marked by the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement, and social upheaval, his personal choices intersect with the larger currents of history. The narrative’s fluid progression takes readers through pivotal moments, including the protagonist’s decision to shift from the pursuit of priesthood to embrace love and romantic involvement. This juncture of personal desire and historical context forms a compelling narrative arc that captures the essence of a generation in flux.

Lester Fisher skillfully balances intimate personal anecdotes with the broader sweep of historical events


Rounak Raj’s Reviews > Happenstance
Happenstance by Lester Fisher
My rating:[ 5 of 5 stars ]

Happenstance
by Lester Fisher (Goodreads Author)

Rounak Raj’s review Aug 21, 2023

It was amazing!

“Happenstance” by Lester Fisher offers an intimate and insightful journey through the intricate tapestry of postwar America. The protagonist, a product of the baby boomer generation, grapples with the challenges of his time, shaping his identity against a backdrop of societal shifts.

The narrative delves into the protagonist’s early life, marked by a wrenching separation from his single mother to live with his grandfather, a Woods Manager for McCloud Rv. Lumber Co. The story unfolds against the evolving landscape of the United States, transitioning from World War II to the complex era of technological advancements, civil rights movements, and shifting cultural norms.

The protagonist’s journey takes him from a rural upbringing to the planned city of Longview, Washington, where he navigates the stratified culture of mill workers and timber magnates. His enrollment in Catholic School and subsequent venture into the Franciscan Seminary provide a window into his personal growth and the influence of religion on his choices.

The heart of the story lies in the protagonist’s pursuit of education and love. As he enters the University of Washington during the tumultuous late 1960s, the Vietnam War looms large, presenting him with choices that define his path. Faced with the draft, he opts for the Peace Corps in Kenya, a decision that catalyzes a transformative phase of his life.

Fisher skillfully captures the protagonist’s journey through Kenya, where he falls in love with a Taita woman and her children. Their bond encapsulates the power of human connection transcending borders and cultures. Yet, fate intervenes as a military induction notice disrupts this idyllic chapter, underscoring the arbitrary nature of individual destinies shaped by external forces.

The author masterfully weaves the protagonist’s personal narrative with the larger historical context. “Happenstance” is a lens through which readers witness the dynamic evolution of the United States. From insularity to globalization, racism to liberation, and isolationism to imperial ambition, the book portrays a nation in flux.

Lastly, “Happenstance” emerges as a poignant portrayal of a single life intertwined with the sweeping currents of history. Fisher’s narrative captures the essence of the protagonist’s choices, desires, and challenges, offering a window into the universal human experience of navigating life’s unexpected turns amidst the backdrop of a changing world.


bookss.paradisse

💫Book :- “HAPPENSTANCE”
💫Author :- “LESTER FISHER”

🌟It is a captivating memoir that delves into the life of a young man navigating the complex landscape of postwar America. Set against the backdrop of a rapidly changing society, the book follows the journey of a bastard boomer as he experiences a series of transformative events that shape his identity and perspectives.🌟

✨The narrative begins with the protagonist’s early years, as he is uprooted from his working single mother’s care and brought to Camp Pondosa by his grandfather, a Woods Manager for McCloud Rv. Lumber Co. This initial change sets the stage for a life filled with unexpected turns and challenges. As the protagonist’s mother becomes a WAC member and later an X-ray tech at McCloud hospital, the family dynamics shift, leading to their relocation to the planned city of Longview, Washington. This shift highlights the disparities between the world the protagonist knew and the new environment he faces.✨

✨The story continues as he attends Catholic School in the socially stratified mill town, offering insight into the class divisions and complexities of the time.✨

✨The narrative takes a dramatic turn as the Vietnam War looms large, presenting the protagonist with limited options. His choice to apply for both Naval Officer Candidate School and the Peace Corps showcases the internal conflict he grapples with during this pivotal period. Ultimately, the Peace Corps offers him an opportunity in Kenya, where he embarks on a two-year journey that forever alters his life. His involvement with a Taita woman and her children paints a vivid picture of cultural exchange and personal growth.✨

💫Lester Fisher’s “Happenstance” masterfully captures the essence of a generation navigating the intricate tapestry of change. With its rich descriptions, compelling characters, and thought-provoking themes, the memoir serves as both a personal account and a historical snapshot of a time marked by transition and growth. Fisher’s vivid storytelling and introspective reflections make this memoir a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the profound shifts that have shaped modern America.✨


Om sen
India

5 out of 5 stars. In Barnes and Noble’s website
Highly Recommended

“Happenstance” by Lester Fisher is a captivating memoir that delves into the life of a young man navigating the complex landscape of postwar America. Set against the backdrop of a rapidly changing society, the book follows the journey of a boomer as he experiences a series of transformative events that shape his identity and perspectives.

The narrative begins with the protagonist’s early years, as he is uprooted from his working single mother’s care and brought to Camp Pondosa by his grandfather, a Woods Manager for McCloud Rv. Lumber Co. This initial change sets the stage for a life filled with unexpected turns and challenges. As the protagonist’s mother becomes a WAC member and later an X-ray tech at McCloud hospital, the family dynamics shift, leading to their relocation to the planned city of Longview, Washington. This shift highlights the disparities between the world the protagonist knew and the new environment he faces.

The story continues as he attends Catholic School in the socially stratified mill town, offering insight into the class divisions and complexities of the time.

The narrative takes a dramatic turn as the Vietnam War looms large, presenting the protagonist with limited options. His choice to apply for both Naval Officer Candidate School and the Peace Corps showcases the internal conflict he grapples with during this pivotal period. Ultimately, the Peace Corps offers him an opportunity in Kenya, where he embarks on a two-year journey that forever alters his life. His involvement with a Taita woman and her children paints a vivid picture of cultural exchange and personal growth.

As the narrative concludes, the protagonist’s experiences provide a lens through which readers witness the remarkable transformations that have defined America’s history — from technological advancements to global influence, social upheaval to human rights struggles.

Lester Fisher’s “Happenstance” masterfully captures the essence of a generation navigating the intricate tapestry of change. With its rich descriptions, compelling characters, and thought-provoking themes, the memoir serves as both a personal account and a historical snapshot of a time marked by transition and growth. Fisher’s vivid storytelling and introspective reflections make this memoir a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the profound shifts that have shaped modern America.


Kajal
5/5stars on Goodreads.com
55 reviews
August 21, 2023
“Happenstance” by Lester Fisher is a captivating memoir that delves into the life of a young man navigating the complex landscape of postwar America. Set against the backdrop of a rapidly changing society, the book follows the journey of a bastard boomer as he experiences a series of transformative events that shape his identity and perspectives.

The narrative begins with the protagonist’s early years, as he is uprooted from his working single mother’s care and brought to Camp Pondosa by his grandfather, a Woods Manager for McCloud Rv. Lumber Co. This initial change sets the stage for a life filled with unexpected turns and challenges. As the protagonist’s mother becomes a WAC member and later an X-ray tech at McCloud hospital, the family dynamics shift, leading to their relocation to the planned city of Longview, Washington. This shift highlights the disparities between the world the protagonist knew and the new environment he faces.

The story continues as he attends Catholic School in the socially stratified mill town, offering insight into the class divisions and complexities of the time.

The narrative takes a dramatic turn as the Vietnam War looms large, presenting the protagonist with limited options. His choice to apply for both Naval Officer Candidate School and the Peace Corps showcases the internal conflict he grapples with during this pivotal period. Ultimately, the Peace Corps offers him an opportunity in Kenya, where he embarks on a two-year journey that forever alters his life. His involvement with a Taita woman and her children paints a vivid picture of cultural exchange and personal growth.

As the narrative concludes, the protagonist’s experiences provide a lens through which readers witness the remarkable transformations that have defined America’s history — from technological advancements to global influence, social upheaval to human rights struggles.

Lester Fisher’s “Happenstance” masterfully captures the essence of a generation navigating the intricate tapestry of change. With its rich descriptions, compelling characters, and thought-provoking themes, the memoir serves as both a personal account and a historical snapshot of a time marked by transition and growth. Fisher’s vivid storytelling and introspective reflections make this memoir a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the profound shifts that have shaped modern America.


@Thetravellingpages on Instagram

📘BOOK REVIEW📘
🔖 Happenstance by Lester Fisher 💐

🗯️Lester Fisher’s “Happenstance” is a captivating narrative that traces the journey of a young man through the intricate and transformative landscape of postwar America. From his humble beginnings in a socially stratified mill town to his pursuit of higher education amidst the turbulent backdrop of the late 1960s, Fisher’s memoir offers a poignant exploration of personal evolution and societal shifts.

🗯️The author skillfully navigates the reader through the protagonist’s choices and encounters, capturing the essence of an era marked by technological advancements, shifting global dynamics, and profound social change. Fisher’s eloquent storytelling unveils the protagonist’s transformative experiences, from grappling with the confines of Catholic indoctrination to embracing love and navigating the constraints imposed by the Vietnam War.

🗯️”Happenstance” intricately weaves together themes of love, sacrifice, and the relentless pursuit of personal identity amid the ever-changing landscape of American history. Through Fisher’s lens, readers are offered a compelling perspective on the profound societal transformations that reshaped the nation from an insular, prejudiced enclave to a complex, multifaceted, and ideologically divided society admired and scrutinized on the global stage.

🗯️This memoir serves as a thought-provoking testament to the individual’s resilience amidst tumultuous times and stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of adaptability and growth. Fisher’s candid and evocative account provides readers with a captivating glimpse into a pivotal era in United States history, rendering “Happenstance” a compelling and invaluable addition to the literary landscape.



inked_imaginationss_
📚- Happenstance

By
✍️- Lester Fisher

It is a poignant and compelling memoir that navigates the labyrinth of postwar America through the eyes of a young man shaped by the tumultuous events and cultural shifts of the mid-20th century. The narrative begins with the protagonist, a “bastard boomer,” uprooted from his working-class single mother and placed in the complex world of Camp Pondosa, where his grandfather served as Woods Manager for McCloud Rv. Lumber Co.

Fisher’s journey unfolds against the backdrop of a socially stratified culture in Longview, Washington, as he traverses the challenges of Catholic school in a pretentious mill town. The author’s candid exploration of his early years, grappling with Catholic indoctrination and later contemplating the priesthood at the Franciscan Seminary, adds depth to the narrative.

The turning point in the protagonist’s life comes with his pursuit of love, diverting from the path to priesthood and entering the halls of the University of Washington during the transformative era of the late 1960s. Fisher skillfully captures the essence of this period, marked by the Vietnam War, social unrest, and a limited array of options for a young man facing the draft.

The memoir takes a fascinating turn as Fisher’s life intersects with the Peace Corps, leading him to Kenya and a romantic involvement with a Taita woman. The narrative becomes a testament to the unpredictable nature of life, shaped by happenstance and external forces, notably Richard Nixon’s decisions during the Vietnam War.

Fisher’s storytelling is both engaging and reflective, providing a unique perspective on the most turbulent years of United States history. The narrative explores the profound changes in technology, global influence, wealth, power, popular unrest, and human rights that transformed America from an isolationist, racist enclave to a complex, liberating, and ideologically-divided nation.

— Nihal Sen


Varsha Pandey
Five out of five stars

August 22, 2023
“Happenstance” by Lester Fisher is a captivating memoir that delves into the life of a young man navigating the complex landscape of postwar America. Set against the backdrop of a rapidly changing society, the book follows the journey of a bastard boomer as he experiences a series of transformative events that shape his identity and perspectives. The narrative begins with the protagonist’s early years, as he is uprooted from his working single mother’s care and brought to Camp Pondosa by his grandfather, a Woods Manager for McCloud Rv. Lumber Co. This initial change sets the stage for a life filled with unexpected turns and challenges. As the protagonist’s mother becomes a WAC member and later an X-ray tech at McCloud hospital, the family dynamics shift, leading to their relocation to the planned city of Longview, Washington. This shift highlights the disparities between the world the protagonist knew and the new environment he faces.


abhay_writes_

TITLE – HAPPENSTANCE
AUTHOR – LESTER FISHER

Rating – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️✨ 4.8/5

🌼“Happenstance” by Lester Fisher offers a captivating journey through the tumultuous landscape of postwar America, as seen through the eyes of a young man navigating the maze of societal expectations and personal desires. Fisher’s narrative follows the trajectory of a country-bumpkin kid, uprooted from his familiar surroundings to confront the challenges of a socially stratified culture in Longview, Washington.

🌼The protagonist’s evolution from a Catholic indoctrinated youth to a collegiate at the University of Washington reflects the societal upheavals of the 1960s, marked by the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement. Fisher masterfully intertwines personal growth with historical events, illustrating how individual choices intersect with larger forces shaping the nation.

🌼The protagonist’s decision to join the Peace Corps and his subsequent romantic entanglements in Kenya highlight the serendipitous nature of life’s twists and turns. Fisher skillfully captures the essence of ‘happenstance,’ demonstrating how chance encounters and unexpected opportunities can alter one’s path irrevocably.

🌼Through vivid storytelling and rich historical context, “Happenstance” offers a poignant reflection on America’s journey from isolationism to global influence, from racial segregation to ideological division. Fisher’s memoir serves as a compelling reminder of the complexities inherent in the pursuit of personal fulfillment amidst the backdrop of societal change.

🌼Overall, “Happenstance” is a thought-provoking exploration of identity, love, and the enduring impact of circumstance on individual destiny. Fisher’s honest and introspective narrative resonates with readers, inviting them to reflect on their own journeys through the maze of life’s happenings.

I enjoyed reading it and is highly recommended.


Happenstance by Lester Fisher

Before anything else, I would like to commend you for creating such a masterpiece that is your book, ‘Happenstance’. It is more than a mere memoir, it is a symphony of the human experience, blending the personal with the political, the intimate with the epic. Your prose is as elegant as it is evocative, weaving a tapestry of emotion and insight that resonates long after the final page is turned. People could be reminded of the enduring power of resilience, love, and the indomitable spirit of the human soul. In your masterful hands, ‘Happenstance’ transcends the confines of time and place to become a timeless testament to the beauty and complexity of the human experience.

Angel Castillo
Senior Project Manager
Writer’s Branding