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Lisa Herman

Toronto, McClelland and Stewart, 1989. 238pp, cloth, $24.95
ISBN 0-7710-4074-1. CIP

Grades 10 and up/Ages 15 and up
Reviewed by Melanie Fogel.

Volume 17 Number 5
1989 September

In case you haven't had enough of coming of age in the '60s stories, there's Bourgeois Blues. It's 1969 and Snow, an eighteen-year-old virgin from Toronto, runs away to San Francisco to find her­self. Why she chose to fly to the U.S. hippie mecca without first taking an exploratory bus trip to downtown Yorkville is never explained.

Like every kid who made it to California in the '60's, Snow first gets a job. She also meets some wildly novel characters, such as a homosexual and a feminist. She even talks to a black person.

It's difficult to tell for whom this apologia was written. The self-analyses and consciousness-raising passages are ludicrously shallow or have been sanitized to please Herman's mother. The flower children are now receiving "over the hill" greeting cards, and Bourgeois Blues does nothing to explain the generation to either their pensioned-off parents or their un­employed offspring, although Herman probably feels a lot better having got all this off her chest.

It's unlikely a post-Belushi, AIDS-wary eighteen-year-old will find anything interesting in the sex and drug pussyfooting of this half-hearted rebel whose biggest problem seems to be an offensively simplistic definition of the term "Nazi." Snow's contem­poraries can take a better nostalgia trip listening to Bob Dylan albums.

It's not a badly written book, just irrelevant and twenty-three years too late.

Melanie Fogel, Ottawa, Ont.
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