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Mildly charming 1960s-era coming-of-age novel.

In this breezy debut, Love establishes a temporal back-and-forth between Peach, the narrator, and her mother’s old journal entries. Peach’s mother is involved with Colonel William “BJ” Jefferson Davis (subtlety is not the author’s strong suit), a rabid McCarthyist in Mississippi dedicated to ferreting out communist influences at Mississippi State University and beyond. Her journal entries record the Colonel’s Sisyphean struggle against the Sidney Bunch Society, an anti-war group, as well as the couple’s flaccid love life, rendered in squirmingly self-conscious sex scenes. Peach recounts her psychedelic transformation by way of THC-laced honey, and her political transformation by way of her boyfriend, Bobby Joe, who is involved with the Sidney Bunch Society. The author draws thick, deep lines in the sand between the hippies and the squares–though Colonel BJ exudes a hint of depth when he’s not frothing at the mouth–as events float by with little consequence: Peach’s merry pranksters continue to needle The Establishment; characters indulge in Mardi Gras excess; acid is dropped; curfews are disregarded. A veneer of ’60s flower-power conviction coats the narrative, which is all quite harmless. Sex-obsessed, occasionally inconsistent in tone and guilelessly innocent throughout, the novel closes with a feeble denouement that detracts from the intermittent spark of Love’s writing–as well as from Peach’s supposed revolutionary dreams.

Wide-eyed and carefree: an innocuous flashback.

Pub Date: May 10th, 2006
ISBN: 1-4196-3013-X
Program: Kirkus Indie
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