Old Doesn’t Mean Dead – Or Submissive

 

Cal Yarborough was a farmer. A widower and old, he was living alone on his farm. While he was in the hospital, his children used their power-of-attorney to sell the farm and settle him at Sun City, a Central Texas retirement community.

“Sun City: A Hilariously Addictive Story of Rebellion,” by Matthew Minson, opens with Yarborough’s arrival at Sun City. His dismay at losing his farm is compounded when he learns he cannot even put in a vegetable garden. The community board has banned them.

Most of Sun City’s residents resent the board. It is made up of retired flag officers, appointed by the developers. The board enjoys throwing their weight around committing petty tyrannies.  The residents cannot replace the board because the corporate bylaws allow the corporation to appoint the board until 97 percent of the properties are sold. The Corporation plans to expand Sun City before that happens. Nor can residents sell without incurring a big loss. Buyers prefer new properties.

The only solution is to buy out the unsold properties and the surrounding land. That requires serious money.

A cadre of residents, including Cal, a former CIA agent turned counterculture warrior, a mob boss in hiding, a Wiccan priestess, and a salacious chef named Betty Crocker hatch a scheme to get that serious money.  Wild Bill, the ex-CIA agent has seed for government-engineered pot, “borrowed” after a failed plan to overthrow Castro shut down. It produces super-pot.  He now has someone to grow this crop, and someone to market it. They plan to use the money to buy out the corporation.

What follows is a wacky adventure in which the five begin a bootlegging scheme. Along the way they help a local restaurateur suffering from cancer, look out for the single mother who manages the community, and play matchmaker between the only two teens in the community (an awkward teenage boy and the teenage granddaughter of Betty Crocker). They do all this while evading detection by the local law (a deputy sheriff with an unfortunate last name), outwitting the community board, and outfoxing the corrupt developers.

Sun City is not your typical novel about a retirement community. It is a fast-paced farce, which is not meant to be taken too seriously. It is filled with literary Easter eggs, adding entertainment when they become apparent. It depicts a struggle between individual freedom and social control relevant to today’s America.

“Sun City: A Hilariously Addictive Story of Rebellion,” by Matthew Minson, TLOED Inc., 2022, 305 pages, $14.95 (Paperback), $5.99 (Ebook)

This review was written by Mark Lardas who writes at Ricochet as Seawriter. Mark Lardas, an engineer, freelance writer, historian, and model-maker, lives in League City, TX. His website is marklardas.com.

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There are 12 comments.

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  1. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Sounds like a great read. A series in the making for an aging actor. 

    • #1
  2. Matt Bartle Member
    Matt Bartle
    @MattBartle

    And Cale Yarborough used to race cars. Funny to pick a name so similar to a real person.

    • #2
  3. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Matt Bartle (View Comment):

    And Cale Yarborough used to race cars. Funny to pick a name so similar to a real person.

    There’s Betty Crocker, too.  Perhaps many of the characters share the names of famous people.

    • #3
  4. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    I can thoroughly recommend The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman (and sequel) for a British take on a similar theme. 

    • #4
  5. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Seawriter: The residents cannot replace the board because the corporate bylaws allow the corporation to appoint the board until 97 percent of the properties are sold. The Corporation plans to expand Sun City before that happens.

    Talk about moving the goalposts . . .

    • #5
  6. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Matt Bartle (View Comment):

    And Cale Yarborough used to race cars. Funny to pick a name so similar to a real person.

    There’s Betty Crocker, too. Perhaps many of the characters share the names of famous people.

    Cal Yarborough is definitely not Cale Yarborough. As for some of the other names in the book? Remember what I said about literary Easter eggs?

    • #6
  7. EB Thatcher
    EB
    @EB

    It’s currently in Kindle Unlimited.

    • #7
  8. EB Thatcher
    EB
    @EB

    Another series along these lines with a science fiction twist is the EarthCent Universe series by E.M. Foner.  The first book is Independent Living.

    • #8
  9. DonovanGodfrey Coolidge
    DonovanGodfrey
    @DonovanGodfrey

    I’m going to have to buy this. It looks like a good read.

    • #9
  10. Nathanael Ferguson Contributor
    Nathanael Ferguson
    @NathanaelFerguson

    This is all the more hilarious to me because Sun City is a real place outside of Austin where I do business every week. I am quite certain the residents feel exactly as described in this post regarding the developer-appointed board. The golf courses are nice, though. And the public spaces are immaculate.

    • #10
  11. GLDIII Purveyor of Splendid Malpropisms Reagan
    GLDIII Purveyor of Splendid Malpropisms
    @GLDIII

    At first glance and until I finished reading I thought Seawriter was giving us a bit of Texas news.

    Pity is was not a real story.

    • #11
  12. DonovanGodfrey Coolidge
    DonovanGodfrey
    @DonovanGodfrey

    GLDIII Purveyor of Splendid Ma… (View Comment):

    At first glance and until I finished reading I thought Seawriter was giving us a bit of Texas news.

    Pity is was not a real story.

    I thought the same for a second haha.

    • #12
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