GOODREADS SUMMARY | Simon & Schuster BYR | ARC Paperback, 286 pp. | May 5th, 2015 | Young Adults | Contemporary | Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars
This is one of those instances when I wish I had enjoyed a book much better than I did. When I got the email from Simon & Schuster, I knew it was something that I could really enjoy. First, because I thought it would be a perfect summer read; and second, because the story is set in the era of love, peace and music, man. I mean, Woodstock! The music festival that started all music festivals. Iconic. Historic. It was fun to read about legendary bands and performers of the time: Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, Joe Cocker – to name a few. A walk down the memory lane and all that.
It wasn’t only those music legends that whetted my appetite. The 60s is an interesting period of time for me. I’ve always been curious about the social and political climate of the times. In this book, the author glanced over the ideals that started Woodstock: camaraderie through music, brotherhood/sisterhood transcending races and blood. It was meant to be a peaceful protest against the war, which was on everybody’s minds. Kids were terrified of being drafted; drugs and free love went hand in hand. Also, hair; lots of hair and nakedness. It was the worst of times and the best of times, folks.
Despite of all that, I couldn’t rate the book any higher than the paltry two stars I gave it. I found the writing to be somewhat pedestrian. So much so that the characters sounded juvenile and lacking any personality whatsoever. Cora and Michael bored me; they were flat characters who had very little to offer as far as charisma and dimensions go. I don’t know, maybe because the story’s short that it didn’t really leave much room for character development? I felt like they could’ve been so much bigger, more in depth than how I perceived them. Ultimately, this single blight is what dragged the book down for me. Characterization is such an integral part of a great story. This book needed a lot of work in that department.
If there’s one thing that I can appreciate from this book is that how the author expertly transported me to Bethel, NY. How easily I could imagine being amongst the crush of bodies writhing in mud whilst in the haze of musical oblivion. It was so easy to picture how carefree and uninhibited the people were. Above all things, it’s a glimpse of shared sentiments and worry about the Vietnam war and their futures. While Michael didn’t know what the hell he wants to do with his life, Cora didn’t know how to make her dream a reality.
So far, this book has been getting quite a few favourable reviews on Goodreads. Sorry to be a Debbie Downer, but I really thought this book had so much unrealized potential.