Buckle up your Birkenstocks and travel back to 1975. Discover (or relive) the pre-digital age in Arcata, a remote Bohemian college town on the northern edge of California. Meet Kit, a hard-working, bookish senior, on track for graduation--that is, until she falls for Jonathan, one-time bestselling author, now her stand-in professor. Jonathan, a master in the art of deception, isn't who he appears to be. As their bond grows, Kit's desire blinds her to the truth-- a shocking discovery shatters her faith and ultimately tests her integrity.
From the first blush of fall quarter to the final breath of spring, hard lessons will be learned. To "graduate" into an uncertain future, Jonathan and Kit must first embrace the present--including the injustices, ambiguities and absolute beauty of their lives.
Beneath the ever-changing Humboldt skies they forge ahead; they stumble and sometimes fall.
Heliotrope, a coming-of age story for the ages.
What do college, California and the 70's have in common? The book Heliotrope, for one, by JC Miller; and for two, they are all fantasy lands where life is different from what the rest of us experience. I spent my second decade in the 70's and I've been both to college and California (several times each!), so I know whereof I speak.
Fortunately, JC Miller is t/here to guide us through these places and times of wonder. The characters are flesh and blood. They have strengths and weaknesses. I believe Miller's mix of these traits in people is more accurate than most - and by that I mean she gives the weaknesses a thorough and philosophical treatment.
I'm glad Kit reconsidered her chemically inspired revenge note, and although it was too late to nab it back before the recipient read the note, she did try to make amends. There was a situation that needed to be addressed, and the note did just that. But she wrote it as a knee-jerk reaction, out of spite.
I'll admit, I had a hard time feeling sympathy for Johnathan. Saying he was not hard-wired for fidelity makes it seem like his behavior is not in his control. He should have thought of that before he got married and had a son. But he does seem to try to turn things around for his own good, and the good of those around him. Sometimes this is not an easy task, and I give him credit for that.
Loved the 70's references! I saw the cover and started humming the theme song from "The Partridge Family" and my mind went more than once to that Brady Bunch place. Heliotrope is a fun look back for those who came of age in the 70's themselves, or who have other interests in that decade. Miller paints a wonderful picture of life before electronics. I am looking forward to reading more of Miller's work.
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(Disclosure: I received this book in exchange for my objective review. This post contains affiliate links.)