Review of excellent book ''The Strawberry Fields of Heaven.''
From: Ted Powell
To: David Rice Msg #168, 30-Sep-90 04:46pm
Subject: Women Awakening
In a message of , David Rice (1:382/7) writes to Elise:
>DR:An extremely well writen book, an EXCELLENT work of art, on this
>DR:theme is "Strawberry Fields of Heaven." ...
>DR:This book is well worth the effort to find. At the moment I can
>DR:not recall the author's name. Blossom Blofield I think.
The Strawberry Fields of Heaven
Crown Publishers, Inc., One Park Avenue, NY NY 10016
A thought-provoking book.
From the end flaps:
Set in the free-love community of Oneida, New York, [which was noted for
its strawberries; hence the title --tp] in the 1870s, _The Strawberry Fields
of Heaven_ is a wholly original novel that explores how human beings did--and
do--respond to sexual freedom.
Katherine and Peter Berger have come to a cul-de-sac in their marriage.
The sexual aspect of their relationship has ceased. Peter, a successful lawyer
in post-Civil War New York City, is disgusted with the repression and
materialism that surround him and has taken to visiting brothels. Katherine,
for her part, has withdrawn into a fantasy world all her own. In an effort to
save both their marriage and their family, Peter decides to take his wife and
three children to join the experimental commune at Oneida, a community which
practices a system of "Complex Marriage" whereby all men and women are married
equally to one another.
Once inside the community, the family undergoes radical changes. They all
fall under the spell of Oneida's founder, Father John Humphrey Noyes.
Katherine meets Martin, a gentle horticulturist, who rekindles her feelings
for her own sexuality. Dierdre, their eldest daughter, falls in love with
Adam, but in order to enjoy a physical relationship with him, she must first
be "taught" by an older man and is traumatized by the experience. Rebecca,
their youngest, becomes thoroughly enchanted with the communal experience, and
Paulie, their son, to a lesser degree, is also taken in. But Peter himself
becomes utterly disillusioned. The various relationships that develop within
the community cause a crisis in values for the family, and the solutions they
reach have stunning repercussions.
This is a realistic and revealing story that depicts not only life as it
was lived in the Oneida Community but the ways in which men and women respond
to radically different rules in a new society of their own making. The
conflicts and questions are as pertinent today as they were one hundred years
ago, the resolutions as profound.
Blossom Elfman is the author of several novels, including _The Girls of
Huntington House_, which was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, and _A House
for Jonnie O_, which was an ALA Notable Book. She won an Emmy Award for her
screenplay "I Think I'm Having a Baby" and is currently [i.e. 1983 --tp] at
work on a new historical novel. Mrs. Elfman lives in Los Angeles with her
--- msged 2.00
* Origin: PSG Vancouver (1:153/4)