Reviewed: October 29th, 2020
Garrett Adams, an uptight behavioral psychology professor who refuses to embrace the 1960s, is in a slump. The dispirited rats in his latest experiment aren’t yielding results, and his beloved Yankees are losing. As he sits at a New York City bar watching the Yanks strike out, he knows he needs a change.
At a Columbus Circle bookstore he meets a mysterious young woman, Daphne, who draws him into the turbulent and exciting world of Vietnam War protest politics and the music of Bob Dylan and the Beatles. He starts to emerge from the numbness and grief over his father’s death in World War II.
When Daphne evolves into four separate versions of herself, Garrett’s life becomes complicated as he devotes himself to answering questions about character and destiny raised by her iterations. His obsession threatens to upend his relationship with Caroline, a beautiful art historian, destroy his teaching job, and dissolve his friendship with his old pal Jerry.
This book is a beautifully written expose on life in the sixties see through the disillusioned eyes of the narrator, Garrett. His meeting with Daphne begins a journey of self-discovery. His journey jolts him out of his boring life and makes him question everything around him.
We get to visit the sixties America, from the music of the Beatles and other artists to the terrible political and social tragedies of the Vietnam war and the assassinations of Martin Luther King and the Kennedy brothers. How do you cope with such turmoil and unexplained hate? Well it was the sixties!
This book is easy to read even though it is touching on a variety of social, psychological and scientific theories. The book is educational as well as entertaining and Laurel brings the various threads of the story together with consummate art.
There is a magical element to the way everything evolves and yet dovetails into the final reality for Garrett. After all, how much do we know is real or imagined? A clever book and a good read. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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