The book I chose today came in the mail a few weeks ago, and has been beckoning to me, with its lovely, colorful cover. Images on the cover remind me of a time in my life when change felt more than just possible, but inevitable. The Love Children, by Marilyn French, is an exploration of that time.
Marilyn French’s 1977 novel The Women’s Room epitomized the feminist movement and became one of the most influential books of our time. Now, in her last novel, she has captured the complexities of life for the daughters of The Women’s Room generation in her highly anticipated new novel The Love Children.
It is the late 1960s in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Grateful Dead is playing on the radio and teenagers are wearing long hair and blue jeans. Jess Leighton, the daughter of a temperamental painter and a proto-feminist Harvard professor, is struggling to make sense of her world amid racial tensions, Vietnam War protests, and anti-government rage. With more options than her mother’s generation, but no role model for creating the life she desires, Jess experiments with sex and psychedelic drugs as she searches for happiness on her own terms. In the midst of joining and fleeing a commune, growing organic vegetables, and operating a sustainable restaurant, Jess grapples with the legacy of her mother’s generation.
Beginning: When I was fourteen, and still in junior high, we read a Hemingway story in English class that opened, “In the fall the war was always there, but we did not go to it any more.” It was a sad story, and that line stayed in my head; it felt like my own truth.
I like this opener. It tugs at that part of my soul that recognizes sad truths from my own younger years.
56: Dad would come in around nine, pour a stiff drink, and sit down. He’d just sit there, staring into space for a while, drinking fast, pouring drink after drink. After a while, his soul would come back into his eyes, and he’d get up and grab a pot and a fork and sink into a kitchen chair and eat.
I’m eager to delve into this one! What did the rest of you grab today? I hope you’ll share….
Check out Laurel-Rain Snow Creations, if you’d like more stories from those years….