Sunday, November 18, 2007

Flower Children by Maxine Swann

Four children grow up wild and largely unsupervised in a 1960's hippie household. Their parents smoke pot, have skinny-dipping parties with their friends, and over-share about their lives (sex with lovers, bowel movements, etc.). Narrated alternately from the plural "we" and the first-person, the children grow older with each chapter, sharing their experiences of the world. My friend Linda said that what she liked about the book was that there was no judgment in the writing. The author did not set out to say "look how crazy these hippies are" (although I couldn't help but think that on occasion), she simply set out to describe and present.

Swann is an accomplished writer, to be sure, but like her debut novel, this one also felt lacking. It reminded me of Susan Minot's Monkeys, which I remember liking much better. I was predisposed to like this one as it had gotten such raves from Eliza Minot (and I loved her book The Brambles). Another case of high expectations and hype foiling my reading experience.

1 comment:

penguindevil said...

Bowel movements?

Sometimes the craziness of the hippies doesn't need to be stated. But, then again, some of us look to novels for judgments. Describing and presenting sounds like a better theme for textbooks.

Of course, maybe I just look everywhere for judgments... Especially of crazy hippies.