Full review on Tales Between the Pages
By the end of the first paragraph I was hooked. Vorhaus has a funny, irreverent, and charming writing style that reminds me of the absurdist style of Tom Robbins or Christopher Moore. (Note: I’m not calling Vorhaus absurd. “Absurdist fiction” is a legitimate genre. Read more about it here.) However much Vorhaus’ writing style reminds me of Robbins or Moore, his book isn’t absurdist fiction. Vorhaus taps into the psyche of his 16-year-old protagonist, Gene, to explore the status quo, the Vietnam war, and the rising counterculture in 1969 middle-America.
I always said that I was born in the wrong era. I read this book convinced that had I been a teenager in 1969 I would have been just like Lucy. The truth is that I probably would have been a square and not have done anything radical with my life. I imagine myself holed up in my room listening to the music my parents hated and thinking radical counterculture thoughts only when they were both out of the house. Lucy on the inside. Mary Jane or something equally square on the outside. Maybe I’d surprise myself. Lucy exhibits the kind of freedom that my 1969-me would have loved to have and the kind of freedom that my 28-year-old-2014-me would still like to have. Lucy represents the promise inside myself to do something/say something/stand up for something radical. I think that’s what she represented to Gene too. No matter how crazy things got in the book (and boy were they crazy) Gene’s heart never changed. I loved that best about him. It proves to me you can be radical AND good at the same time.