One of the founders of Twin Oaks, Kathleen Kinkade chronicles the ups and downs of her Skinnerian utopia with candor and...

READ REVIEW

A WALDEN TWO EXPERIMENT: The First Five Years of Twin Oaks Community

One of the founders of Twin Oaks, Kathleen Kinkade chronicles the ups and downs of her Skinnerian utopia with candor and acuity. After five years of struggle the commune is no longer in danger of foundering on naive hippie idealism; moreover the Twin Oaks family is well on its way to ""the good life"" replete with middle-class material comforts. Much of what she says will help dispel the popular conception of the commune as a ""dream world"" where brown rice and marijuana are the dietary staples, social and sexual anarchy is the norm. Quite the opposite. Both the longevity and prosperity of Twin Oaks are ascribed to a highly structured environment including a communal government headed by a board of planners, ""managers"" to supervise virtually every aspect of work and play, a labor credit system which insures against ""parasites"" who are too ""sensitive"" to work, a no-drugs rule, and the willingness to eject members whose vision is detrimental to community welfare. This necessarily makes for a fairly homogeneous group. You will meet and like many of them: Hal who put up the money to buy the farm, Naomi who at 17 manages the kitchen for 40 people, Carrie who left because she couldn't accept communal child rearing. Kinkade explains the workings of the auto shop, wood shop, print shop and hammock-weaving shop all of which help make them self-supporting. The green spaghetti fiasco which led to curtailing the ""creative freedom"" of the cook is characteristic of the good-humored common sense which so often seems to prevail -- ""Spaghetti takes food coloring very well. If it were frosting it would lend appeal to a birthday cake; if it were yarn it would make a beautiful rug. It is as spaghetti that it fails."" Although Skinnerian guidelines are generally followed in one area -- sex -- the sage is blithely ignored and total freedom prevails. A heartening account of a successful social experiment built on a happy mix of hard work, idealism and continuous self-scrutiny.

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 1972

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Morrow

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1972