Floating in a Most Peculiar Way

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9780965763936: Floating in a Most Peculiar Way
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Janelle and Tom, politically-active students in the sixties, but now living a respectable middle-class life, feel awkward when Angel, a radical leader during their college days, decides to visit them

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From Kirkus Reviews:

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; hes now a lawyer, and it turns out that hes 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. Shes also increasingly distraught over Zaks 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. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

Racine's engaging debut is a generation gap pas de trois, focusing on Janelle and Tom, who are coping with their son's imminent departure for college. This event proves to be a traumatic catalyst for Janelle's panicky reassessment of how she and Tom have lived their lives. There was a time when they were nomadic hippies and everything they owned fit into a steamer trunk. Now, a quarter of a century later, Tom has a career in computers and Janelle fears their complacent comfort and dependence upon technology. When Angel, a charismatic revolutionary and former lover of Janelle's from the good-and-stoned days, calls and invites himself over for a visit, Janelle worries about how their lives will look to him. Racine's patchouli-scented homage to the generation of 1960s activists who find themselves mired in the mega-corporate world of the 1990s where the teenagers say things like "Your mom, man, she's a throwback" is a charming m?lange of nostalgic idealism and humorous realism, wryly acknowledging the "aggressively bad folk music" that came with the good. Racine truthfully captures the irony that the most exaggeratedly mellow typesAe.g., JanelleAare frequently the biggest control freaks through amusingly patronizing and jaunty banter between Janelle and her MTV-weaned son. The novel's primary flaw is a superfluous metaphor involving a flood that courses through the narrative: the turbulent waters creeping up on the family's rural Georgia home echo the rising emotions within. But that's a minor shortcoming in what is otherwise an enjoyable and insightful work that affectionately skewers '60s idealism while honoring the good intentions of those boomers who courted revolution and wound up puzzled citizens adjusting to middle age.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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