Dear Ann

Harper. Sept. 2020. 352p. ISBN 9780062986658. $27.99. F
In 2017, on a cruise in the Caribbean with her dying husband, Ann indulges in a “what if” review of her graduate school career in the late 1960s. What if she had gone to Stanford instead of Binghamton? Would being at the epicenter of the peace movement and living in the California warmth, with access to forests of redwoods, have changed anything? Would free love, LSD, and the Beatles have been any more or less significant? And would Jimmie, her first love, still have appeared and broken her heart? As she struggles to find her place in the world amid staggering societal changes, with letters from home keeping her somewhat grounded, Ann realizes that she can imagine a life in California but is unable to remove Jimmie from her story. The multi-award-winning Mason (The Girl in the Blue Beret) captures the poignancy of first love, its effect on everything that follows, and the naïveté and uncertainty of youth in the chaos of cultural change, even as she gathers the many significant cultural issues of the era.
VERDICT Highly recommended for readers of general fiction and those with a special interest in the Sixties. [See Prepub Alert 3/11/20.]

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