Sunday, September 16, 2007

"At home, they wander out into the yard alone and stand there at a terrible loss."

Lu, Mauve, Tuck, and Clyde are children who live in a world all their own~a world of free love and free play and free questions and free answers created by their hippy-dippy-bohemian parents who want to hold nothing back from them. Flower Children by Maxine Swann is a novel told in separate short stories, something akin to Moral Disorder & Other Stories by Margaret Atwood or one of my all-time-favorites: Rhoda: a life in stories by Ellen Gilchrist but Flower Children is entirely unique to itself, unencumbered by debt to those much accomplished novels (oh, if only i could be so unencumbered...)

The foursome is raised in an unconventional household (their home dug into a hillside, with a swing in the living room...) in a rural Pennsylvania farming county, where the parents plan to be completely up front concerning all subjects~no matter what; and after their split the father seems to need more parenting than they do. They are left their freedom even when they seem to long for some constraints (and visiting their more conventional maternal grandmother offers them a taste of something foreign and almost exotic; though visiting their paternal grandparents offers a taste of where their father might have gained his unconventional outlook.

If you are waiting to hear what happened to those children that were raised by the free-wheeling bohemian rule-eschewing parents of a more innocent time (as many amazon reviewers seemed to be~and as at least one publisher review led one to believe...) this may not be the novel for you; but it is a lyrical tale told by the oft-confused children of those parents told during their difficult, early coming of age period... I enjoyed it greatly, but i have often been told, with my own bohemian ways, i was born a generation too late... (though i have my own disagreements...)

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