This is a book review I completed for a magazine, but with their ongoing permission I also post some reviews here on my own blog site. This book is so awesome that I recommend all of you go out and buy it. You will not be disappointed. (following the review is the Amazon Link to buy it online).
Mac & June – Love in the Time of Oil
By James David Nicol
Book Review by Michael Bradley
Mac & June – Love in the Time of Oil is one of the best slice of life books I’ve read in my lifetime. Written by James David Nicol, it details the love story between Mac, an America sent over to Scotland in 1974 during the North Sea Oil boom, and June, a local Aberdeen woman with a uniquely Scottish fisherman family. Nicol is himself a native of Scotland, though he has since lived in such exotic places as Hong Kong, Australia, and now Phoenix, Arizona.
There is so much to love about this story it is hard to know where to start. The overall story line is similar to My Big Fat Greek Wedding, in which an American deals with the culture clash and interesting characters of his love interest’s Greek family. It is also reminiscent of Polish Wedding, starring Claire Danes and Gabriel Byrne and Lena Olin which gives similar insight into the Polish traditions. In Mac and June, you will definitely learn about family and life in seventies’ Scotland.
The language, the humor, the pathos and the challenges are all laid out smoothly and as a reader you grow to love each and every character. The Grandpa of June really steals the show though and his parts of the story alone are worth the price of the book and the time to read it. As a first novel, James David Nicol shows a mastery of prose and fiction rarely seen even in much more experienced authors.
Nostalgia fans will also appreciate the 1970s references including language, music and other trends. Mac and June is similar to American Graffiti in its use of time and locale to tell the story of ordinary people facing situations men and women have faced throughout time.
I give my highest recommendation to read this novel. The two notes I must make is that the book is so good you might read through it all at once and be left wanting more. My understanding is that Nicol is working on a sequel, so let’s hope that is not to far out to wait. Second, the salty language and adult situations of real people living in Scotland in a blue collar town may be too much for a younger audience. As a result, this is probably a book for those eighteen and above. Neither the situations nor the language are inappropriate to the story, but a realistic part of it.