Have you ever been. . . watching some documentary about something current and modern, and got the feeling you were a foreigner watching a show from a country that wasn't yours?"" Speaking is 15-year-old Enoch Callahan, raised in an Appalachian community where his '60s hippies parents settled, and hankering now to live in Raleigh with his uncle's family and experience the life he sees on TV. It's a likely notion--what form adolescent rebellion might take in the kids of the hippies--though rebellion is too strong a word for Enoch's rational curiosity, and it's not until the second half of the book, in any case, that Enoch actually gets out of Kettle Creek (and away from sensuous 26-year-old Rita, virtually the only sex object around). But readers whose curiosity is piqued will find the follow-through satisfying. In Raleigh, Enoch discovers the joys of indoor plumbing, carpeting, and electricity, along with the advantages of the city school (though he can't abide the rampant cheating). Then boredom with the unproductive life sets in, mitigated only by the presence of classmate Holly--who also appreciates the simple things. Drugs, liquor, and TV-addiction further sully the Raleigh scene, and Enoch has already decided to return home when he learns that everything the family owns has been lost in a fire. The simple life, we're reminded now, has its drawbacks: modern school facilities are superior, electricity used in moderation is a boon, house insurance would have made sense, some of Kettle Creek's hippie elements are into drugs and on the dole. The author's preference for the simple life remains blatantly clear; still, this is a personal story that starts with strong characters and stops short of polemic.