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What happens to hippies who sell out 20 years down the pike? They become the subject of books like this witty debut about aging boomers’ gradual accommodation to reality. Janelle and Tom may not have been the original flower children, but they were certainly on the scene. Married in the late 1960s, both were involved in various antiwar and liberation movements, and for a few weeks they even sheltered two members of a Weathermen-like underground on the lam for killing a Boston cop during a bank robbery. Later on, they wandered across the country, and Tom, while working at a university, eventually learned to program computers. When Janelle gave birth to their son Zak, Tom built a cabin for them in Valdosta, Georgia, where he found work as a computer designer. Life is going along happily for the pair when they are confronted with a ghost from their past in the person of Michael “Angel” Martelli. An old friend from movement days, Angel calls out of the blue asking if he can drop by for a chat; he’s now a lawyer, and it turns out that he’s concerned about Katherine Powers, one of the bank robbers Tom and Janelle sheltered 30 years back. Katherine has decided to turn herself in, and Angel (who arranged for her to stay with Tom and Janelle) is afraid that his name might come up in the case and hurt his career. Janelle promises to say nothing, but inwardly she begins to wonder about the value of all they once believed in. She’s also increasingly distraught over Zak’s imminent departure for college. Has she lost her ideals? Or has she simply put those ideals into private life? Perhaps “the personal is political,” as they used to say, though in a way that Janelle could not have guessed until now. Somewhat rambling and obvious, but told with a fresh voice and infused with a likable spirit: even Young Republicans might be taken in.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-9657639-3-5
Page count: 230pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1999