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Monday, May 28, 2012

Review: Gone to Flowers by C.M. Barrett

Title: Gone to Flowers
Author: C.M. Barrett
Format: Ebook
Publisher: Self-published
Publish Date: January 23, 2012
Source: I received a copy from the author. This did not affect my review.


Why You're Reading This Book:
  • You are looking for more recent historical fiction.
  • You don't mind a lot of characters. 
  • You like getting inside a character's head.
What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "In Gone to Flowers, young people leave New York City in 1968 to live together on a rural commune.

Eli, hoping to conquer his fear of intimacy by moving in with seven other people, finds peace in the communal garden but can't make love blossom.

Mary casts off casual sex and avoids the potential prison of marriage and motherhood until her feelings for a bisexual man make vows of celibacy look like the worst idea since Selective Service.

Though Amethyst's parents tell her she can only be safe among Jewish people, she is determined to free herself of their fears. A master chef, she discovers some dangerous ingredients in her recipe for romance when her parents disown her.

Michael, a former junkie, envisions communal life as a permanent party with himself as host. He shakes his addiction to control others, but when he loses control of his libido, he risks his marriage.

Against the background of Vietnam, the Chicago Democratic Convention, Woodstock, My Lai, and Kent State, they pursue their visions. The snake in this fragile Eden, a seductive and disturbed teenager, brings their individual and collective vulnerabilities to the surface and thwarts their efforts to be true to themselves and each other."


My Two Cents: 

While this book takes place in the late 1960s and early 1970s, it is less a historical fiction book than a story of people that just happens to take place in a past time period. What's the difference between those two for me? Historical fiction to me tends to have a heavier focus on events going on and how the characters in the book are affected by said events. In Gone to Flowers, we get a flavor of that. The characters are aware of what's going on in the world and they live on a hippie commune that they created themselves but the events of the time are not really in the forefront of the minds of the characters. It's more background music for each of their individual stories. In this case, it works very well as this is a very character centric book.

All of the characters in the book are fairly young and idealistic. We live in very different times now (the characters are not much younger than I am now) so it was interesting to see how each character coped with their situation in a different way. Because the book is so character centric, you do get to see their inner thoughts and where they are coming from, which is nice.

There are a lot of main characters in this book and I found myself getting all of the stories straight. There are also a lot of minor characters to keep track of. I also found it difficult to distinguish between the "voices" of the different characters, which added to the difficulty in keeping track of things. I had to keep flipping back and forth (one downside to e-reading is that flipping takes a long time) in order to make sure that I was remembering correctly who did or said what.

Bottom line: This is a good book for anyone that loves knowing what a character is thinking at all times.


  

8 comments:

  1. I would love to read a book about the 60s and 70s. Too bad there is not more in this book about the events that happened during this time because there was a lot of stuff going on. I might still give it a try, I think I would enjoy it.

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    Replies
    1. It definitely made me want to look for other books that cover the time period!

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  2. I like when there are books that take place in the past but aren't all about the events. those can be great too, but I like a mix. Character-centric books are a fave of mine too. This many might get a bit confusing for me too though, but it sounds good.

    -lauren

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  3. Great review, bummer about the overwhelming characters. I was hoping it was more event driven, i would love to read a book more focused on the period with the characters reacted to it..awesome review.

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  4. I couldn't agree with you more about the distinction between historical fiction, and a 'period' novel! To me, historical fiction has to actually talk a bit about the history of the time. I also agree about the difficulty in flipping through an ebook.

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  5. I couldn't agree with you more about the distinction between historical fiction, and a 'period' novel! To me, historical fiction has to actually talk a bit about the history of the time. I also agree about the difficulty in flipping through an ebook.

    ReplyDelete

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