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California: A Novel
California: A Novel
by Edan Lepucki
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $15.60
114 used & new from $9.82

5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Metaphorical Dystopia, people, metaphorical!, July 14, 2014
This review is from: California: A Novel (Hardcover)
This is my second attempt at a review of this book. People didn't find the first one too useful, so here I'll try again, but now with SPOILERS as to the MY INTERPRETATION of the book. But DON'T READ IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW HOW IT ENDS.

This book does have several threads going, but the major one is about a couple entering their 30's who find themselves pregnant. The world around them had gone to hell in their 20's (that's the general idea, details add flavor but are ultimately unimportant), and Cal, the husband, had decided to turn all Walden and seek the wilderness to forge a new life. The wife had finally gone alone.

In "California" the wilderness is literal, but I think the author meant it to be metaphorical. In her context, the wilderness may stand for writing, which I imagine can also be a lonely life and one fraught with insecurities. But it could stand for any of the ways in which rebellious twenty-somethings escape the world and avoid getting jobs and responsibility: other art, travel, settling in beach towns in third world countries and make a living selling handmade jewelry or drugs and even joining Occupy.

When Frida, the wife, gets pregnant, roughing it alone becomes too scary. They start out by seeking the support of the closest community around them, which accepts them at first, but ultimately rejects them when they know she's with child. They've had to sacrifice their own children for their own art/politics/lifestyle/whatever, and they aren't about to accept someone who gets to have it both ways. So the couple has to chose between going back where they came from, or accept a boring, but relatively safe, middle-class lifestyle, with jobs, rigid sex roles and all the trappings that come with. This is a choice that innumerable couples have had to make in the last half-century (at least), and one that I very much identified with. Ultimately, though, you do what's best for your children. You sell out, fully aware that that's what you are doing, and you never stop wondering if you shouldn't have.

There is another interesting thread running through the story: Frida's brother has become a leader in an Occupy-like group, and there are questions as to how much the group is real, and how much a tool of the establishment. How much they are fighting for a cause, and how much is fighting and attaching a cause to it - and when does idealism sell out into criminality. More questions are asked than answered - but it's the lack of answers that ultimately allows Frida & Cal to make the choices they make.

All in all, I loved the book. I finished it in a day. But it's a book that spoke very much to my own experience as a political activist and mother. And like the book, I don't have answers.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 26, 2014 3:09 AM PDT


Sephardic Cooking: 600 Recipes Created in Exotic Sephardic Kitchens from Morocco to India
Sephardic Cooking: 600 Recipes Created in Exotic Sephardic Kitchens from Morocco to India
by Copeland Marks
Edition: Hardcover
32 used & new from $10.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must have, July 7, 2014
Wonderful book, a definite "must have" for any cookbook library. The recipes I've tried so far have been very good, and I very much appreciate the cultural information that comes along with them.


Liv It?s My Nature Maple Lodge Playset
Liv It?s My Nature Maple Lodge Playset
Offered by Gingko Electronics
Price: $44.94
5 used & new from $39.88

4.0 out of 5 stars Great set, June 29, 2014
My daughters had had a great time playing with it over the last couple of years. Too bad Liv dolls are no more.


Aerosoles Women's Mr Softee Flat,Black,8 M
Aerosoles Women's Mr Softee Flat,Black,8 M
Price: $39.22
11 used & new from $39.22

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very nice pair of shoes, June 29, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Stylish, super soft leather and comfortable. They don't have great support, however, so I wouldn't use them for a walking marathon, but they're good enough for short outings.


Teva Women's Tirra Leather Sandal,Black,8 M US
Teva Women's Tirra Leather Sandal,Black,8 M US
Price: $63.75
6 used & new from $63.75

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Tevas, June 29, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
they've held down well during the last year, they look stylish enough and are super comfortable. great buy as usual.


American Girl Crafts Dog Sew and Stuff Kit, 2013 Girl of The Year Saige
American Girl Crafts Dog Sew and Stuff Kit, 2013 Girl of The Year Saige
Price: $9.23
3 used & new from $8.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Very cute, June 29, 2014
My 12yo had fun making this. It took a couple of hours and the results are very cute. All in all, a good value for its discounted price.


Love + Toast Dew Blossom Shower Creme-8.2 oz
Love + Toast Dew Blossom Shower Creme-8.2 oz
Offered by Jeremiah's Book collection
Price: $5.75
19 used & new from $5.75

3.0 out of 5 stars Powdery, February 26, 2014
I do agree with the reviewer that think this smells like play dough. But a scented, powdery play dough - not one with a chemical smell. Basically it's light and powdery, reminiscent of the old perfumed talcum powders my grandmother used to have. Not bad, and mostly subtly, but not compelling.

The lather is fine and it cleans well enough.


Love + Toast Salt & Sea Shower Creme-8.2 oz
Love + Toast Salt & Sea Shower Creme-8.2 oz

4.0 out of 5 stars Margaritas!, February 26, 2014
Basically it smells of citrus and salt. It's a bit weird washing yourself with something that smells so salty, but I actually enjoy it. It has a good a lather. I don't know that I'd pay full price for this, but on discount at Grocery Outlet it's great.


Disney Store Exclusive 11 Classic Doll Brave Princess Merida
Disney Store Exclusive 11 Classic Doll Brave Princess Merida
Offered by Peach Treasure LLC
Price: $17.99
52 used & new from $7.25

4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful doll, January 25, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
My daughter was very happy with it. I like how her face is not all perfect and pricessy and she has big ears :-)


Crosman Archery Sentinel Youth Recurve Bow, Right Hand
Crosman Archery Sentinel Youth Recurve Bow, Right Hand
Price: $29.25
28 used & new from $29.25

4.0 out of 5 stars Good for Merida wannabe, January 25, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
My 11 yo wanted a bow like Merida and did fit the bill. She's had fun using it. My husband who has tried both this and her sister's little banshee says the latter is easier/more accurate, but it doesn't look like Merida's :-)


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