Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Sometimes Daughter by Sherri Wood Emmons

 Judy Webster was born in a mud-spattered tent at Woodstock in 1969 as Crosby, Stills, and Nash played “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.” Her mother, Cassie, was a beautiful flower child, all about making love and not war. She baked pot brownies, embraced free love, nudity, interracial relationships, and carted her baby around to countless parties and protests. When Judy’s father, Kirk, abandoned this Bohemian lifestyle to pursue a law career and give his family a life of stability, the marriage crumbled.  “You’ve sold out to the man!” Cassie screamed when she beheld Kirk’s new clean-cut look—short hair and goodbye scraggly beard.

When Cassie fled to a Kentucky commune with Judy that was the last straw. Kirk won full custody and for the next several years Cassie would drift in and out of her daughter’s life, giving her a real scare when it was suspected that Cassie might be among the dead in Guyana after the mass suicide of Jim Jones’ followers.

As she grows up, Judy struggles to make sense of it all, to accept her absent mother and love her as she is, and come to terms with her father’s new relationship. She also confronts her own wild side that lead her to experiment with drugs and sex at a young age.

I thought this was a fascinating and well written coming of age story. It did a wonderful job of showing what it must have been like for children born in the 1960s and 1970s who must have had to really face this situation, where one parents wants to stay rooted in their flower child past while the other wants to grow up on go forward leaving their child caught in between.

Sherri Wood Emmons is also the author of PRAYERS AND LIES, which is currently waiting for me in one of my towering “To Read” stacks. I hope to get to it sometime in the near future. I will also be waiting and watching to see what this talented storyteller writes next.

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