05 March 2012

Arcadia ~ Lauren Groff

**** RECOMMEND ****

Tournament of the Books : 2013

Soy good! A real trip!
A rich and satisfying read.

This was not a book to be skimmed. It was a thorough life story of "Bit" (a little bit of a Hippy), born and raised in a hippy commune, thrown out into the "real" world and coming to terms with his gentle soul and life in the wilds.

It has taken a while to write this review because I thoroughly enjoyed it ... but there are a few I-don't-know-why things about the writing. I admit to getting a little historically confused towards the end ... only to find when I read a review that the timeline went through till 2018. Really not sure why the author felt a need to do this.

The book if peopled with vividly described characters who are more than two dimensional. There is wonderful detail of the joys and privations of life on the commune. Having recently read 1Q84 where Murakami is obsessed with boring detail about getting meals, this was the opposite end of the interest spectrum ... making bread, growing veges, vegan food, acid spiked cider.

The story is told by Bit and, while this is well done at all ages of his life, it was especially well written through his eyes as a child. (So hard to do ... nothing childish about it but very child like in essence ... similar to the voice in Room.) This first third was, to me, the most enjoyable ... when he was growing up surrounded by diverse free spirits, loving the sense of community.

This is a slow paced read, anything but casual or lightweight.