I recieved a copy from Netgalley.
Actual rating 2.5 stars
This one caught my eye whilst browsing on Netgalley, not my usual thing but figured I'd give it a try. A relatively quick read, I finished it in a few settings, a somewhat bittersweet story about two young girls and their mother who escape from a hippy commune in the 1970s and try to start a new life in California.
While it had its moments, some of it was quite moving and tear jerkery, particularly towards the end, I still felt like...something was missing. The story didn't quite grab my attention, I liked it okay, but still....
It felt like a lot of tell and not show, I didn't feel any particular connection to the characters. The story is told fron the point of view of the fourteen year old daughter, who was reasonably likeable, given the horrific circumstances. The mother was the most unlikeable character, though she was smart enough to getter kids out and away, she found her way across the country through somewhat illegal means and guilt talked the 14 year old into helping. As a reader you can understand why in the circumstances, but it was all very flat. The mother suffers from a crippling depression but again it's all tell and not show, there didn't seem to be much of an emotional impact when this came about.
What I did love about this novel (even though the hippie lingo did wind up annoying me greatly) was the sense of friendship, family and community the girls and their mother find. I loved how people were willing to help them out and get thrown their feet and into a more stable normal life. That was quite heart warning to read about.
There is always the threat that the mothers horrible boyfriend, the commune leader will come looking for them, and there are a few examples of terrible things he's done told to us in the plot, but again, it was stunted somehow and didn't feel anywhere near as frightening as it could have been.
The end was probably the most moving part of the novel, and did have a bit more of an emotional impact. Though over all, the novel was just okay.
Thank you to Netgalley and Albert Whiteman & Company for approving my request.