Thursday, October 4, 2012

Review of Lucy in the Sky by John Vorhaus

Synopsis: "A coming-of-age tale set in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1969, Lucy in the Sky lightly touches on such weighty issues as the meaning of life, the purpose of art and the existence of God. For those interested in answers to The Big Questions or just keen to revisit a simpler time, Lucy in the Sky promises a fun and compelling trip – and that’s trip in every sense of the word. Gene Steen is an earnest, intelligent, truth-seeking teen stuck in the cultural wasteland of his suburban home. He wants to be a hippie in the worst way, but hippies are scarce on the ground in the forlorn Midwest of Gene’s 15th year. Then, propitiously on the Summer Solstice, his life is turned upside down by the arrival of his lively, lovely, long-lost cousin Lucy. She’s hip beyond Gene’s wildest dreams and immediately takes him under her wing. Lucy teaches Gene that being a hippie isn’t about love beads and peace signs, but about the choices you make and the stands you take. Yet for all her airy insights into religion, philosophy and “the isness of it all,” Lucy harbors dark secrets – secrets that will soon put her on the run, with Gene by her side. Lucy in the Sky resonates of such classics as Summer of ’42 and Zen in the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and invites the reader into a richly detailed vision of the ‘60s, as realized by Vorhaus’s sure-handed prose and authentic sense of place and time. With frank talk about sex and drugs, Vorhaus pulls no punches about the realities of the era, yet delivers an uplifting message about personal power and the path to enlightenment. A rewarding read for young seekers and old geezers alike."

My Review: This was a very interesting read for me, a little outside my normal reading genres. Lucy in the Sky starts out reading almost like a diary, it is written in first person, of a teenage boy during the late 60's. Gene isn't satisfied with the idea that family life in the midwest is all the world has to offer and has a tendency to question life itself, when his cousin Lucy shows up it makes him question things even more. The first half really is a coming of age type of book as we follow Gene in developing his own ideas and conclusions with some guidance from Lucy. This first half was a real slow read for me, I tend to dislike books written in first person and had a particularly difficult time connecting with the characters, maybe because it was narrated by a teen boy (something I have never been), maybe it was the hippie thought lines, or maybe it was the random thought tangents that kept distracting from the main story. Once you get about halfway through the book though, things really pick up in some very interesting unexpected twists. Lucy takes Gene on a very eye opening adventure. John Vorhaus really seems to have stuck to the reality of growing up in the time period and captured it in a novel for us all to live as well.
My Rating: This was kind of a middle of the road book for me, it was interesting, but I just didn't connect with it for some reason. I know several of my friends who would absolutely love this book, I think Lucy in the Sky is just one of those books that are for a specific audience. I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag, while it didn't strike me, once it got moving I wasn't able to put it down.
Lucy in the Sky was sent to me by the author for review.
You can get your copy of Lucy in the Sky on Amazon or Barnes & Noble


  1. Wow, this one shocked me it doesn't look like it would be narrated by a guy. I love contemporaries. I'll have to check this one out. Way to go reading out of your comfort zone. Too bad it didn't go quite as well as you thought it would.

    1. It is interesting to try something new, and I think you will enjoy this one more than many of the books I post about.