Culver City | Critical Book Review

In Brant Vickers’ historical fiction masterpiece, Culver City, the boundaries between reality and fantasy blur as we embark on a coming-of-age adventure set against the backdrop of Old and New Hollywood.

A Blend of Reality and Fantastical Elements

The novel introduces us to Kyle and Cassady, teenage best friends navigating the late 60s-early 70s in West L.A. While my adolescent cohorts were exploring hidden parking lots with a joint in hand, Vickers takes us on a wild ride as Kyle and Cassady sneak into the old MGM Backlot studios, encountering a realm where misadventures intertwine with magical realism.

Vickers skillfully intertwines YA historical fiction with elements of the fantastical, featuring evil spirits, alternate realms, and the enchanting allure of Old Hollywood. The seamless fusion of realism and surrealism keeps readers on their toes, questioning what awaits beyond the next twist in the narrative.

Into the Rabbit Hole: Exploring MGM’s Backlots

The narrative kicks off with a daring leap over the fence into MGM’s Backlots, propelling our heroes into a world where the sets of classic films come alive. The mystic encounters with actors from “Gone with the Wind,” such as Vivian Leigh and Leslie Howard, add an ethereal dimension to the tale. As Kyle and Cassady become enthralled with the magical worlds within the Backlots, the boundaries between fantasy and reality blur, putting their friendship to the ultimate test.

Clever Portrayal of Growing Apart

Culver City cleverly delves into the essence of individuals painfully growing apart. Whether it’s friendship or romance, the novel captures the changing ideals that create rifts, exploring the theme of how far one can stretch before the bond snaps. The relatable experiences of Kyle and Cassady resonate with readers, reminding us all of the universal struggles of navigating evolving relationships.

Magical Realism Explored with Respect

Vickers not only captures the essence of Hollywood but pays homage to the genre of magical realism. The Backlots and the seamless transition between reality and illusion evoke comparisons to classic works like Juan Rulfo’s Pedro Páramo. Much like Rulfo, Vickers delves into the innocence and self-discovery of youth, making the magical world feel tangible and inviting readers to get lost in its secrets.

A Fusion of Stranger Things, Acid, and Old Hollywood

For those who relish stories within stories and worlds within worlds, Culver City is a tantalizing blend reminiscent of Stranger Things, seasoned with acid, and steeped in the glamour of Old Hollywood. Despite the collision of decades, the heart of Vickers’ narrative remains timeless.

Recommendation: A Journey Through Dimensions

I recommend Culver City to enthusiasts of intricate narratives, where Vickers masterfully intertwines the dimensions of friendship and the allure of fantastical realms. Whether you’re a young adult seeking relatability or an older reader reminiscing about the complexities of youth, this novel will undoubtedly captivate and resonate.

Publisher, Genre, Print Length, and ISBN

PublisherGenrePrint LengthISBN
Atmosphere PressHistorical Fiction / YA316 pages978-1639885473

In Brant Vickers’ historical fiction masterpiece, Culver City, the boundaries between reality and fantasy blur as we embark on a coming-of-age adventure set against the backdrop of Old and New Hollywood. A Blend of Reality and Fantastical Elements The novel introduces us to Kyle and Cassady, teenage best friends navigating the late 60s-early 70s in…