Author: Eldonna Edwards
Literary genre: Literary/Historical
Available at: The Bookman, Barnes & Noble, online
Synopsis of the book:
Set against the backdrop of a 1970s commune in Northern California, “Clover Blue” is a compelling story of a young boy’s search for identity.
There are many things 12-year-old Clover Blue isn’t sure of: his exact date of birth, his name before he was adopted into the Saffron Freedom Community, or who his first parents were. What he does know with certainty is that among this close-knit, nature-loving group, he is happy. Here, everyone is family, regardless of their disparate backgrounds — surfer, midwife, Grateful Dead groupie, Vietnam deserter. But despite his loyalty to the commune and its guru-like founder, Goji, Blue grapples with invisible ties toward another family — the one he doesn’t remember.
With the urging of his fearless and funny best friend, Harmony, Clover Blue begins to ask questions. For the first time, Goji’s answers fail to satisfy. The passing months bring upheaval to their little clan and another member arrives, a beautiful runaway teen named Rain, sparking new tensions. As secrets slowly unfurl, Blue’s beliefs — about Goji, the guidelines that govern their seemingly idyllic lives, and the nature of family itself — begin to shift. With each revelation about a heartbreaking past he never imagined, Blue faces a choice between those he’s always trusted and an uncertain future where he must risk everything in his quest for the truth.
Part coming-of-age tale, part love story, part mystery, “Clover Blue” explores an unconventional but no less complex family that resonates with our deep-rooted yearning for home.
Why did you write the book?: Every story, for me, begins with questions. As someone who grew up in a conservative West Michigan home in the 1960s and ‘70s, I sometimes wondered what I was missing as the cultural revolution swirled on the far edges of my small-town reality. I had friends and acquaintances who were unconventional (compared to me) that shopped at the co-op and lived off the grid in nature. Writing “Clover Blue” was a unique opportunity to imagine coming of age in a spiritual commune among a tribe of bohemian seekers that includes a beekeeper, an army deserter, a surfer, a yoga enthusiast, a pot farmer and their guru, among others. What would it be like to sleep in an elaborate tree house? To live in harmony with nature, without electricity or running water? To start each day with yoga and end it with meditation? To be raised equally by all the members, not knowing who your biological parents are? I wanted to explore these questions through the lens of an earnest young boy who embarks on a quest to uncover the truth about his family of origin.
Author's thoughts about the book: “Clover Blue” examines life through the lens of a boy raised by a ragtag clan of seekers who raise questions about collectivism vs. autonomy and family vs. tribe. As I sought to answer the questions that sparked the idea for the book, more questions arose, the deepest of which is where do we draw the line between fate and free will? “Clover Blue” is an emotional story that provokes ideological conversations about right and wrong, and the lengths we go to justify our choices, good and bad.
Book notes: “Clover Blue” will be released in hardcover on May 28. The author will be presenting a reading and discussion of both this and her first book, “This I Know,” at Loutit District Library at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 16, and a book signing at The Bookman at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 19.
About the author: Eldonna Edwards grew up in a large family nestled between cornfields and churches in the Midwest. She eventually escaped the harsh winters, moving to California where she expanded her career from journaling facilitator to author to writing instructor to keynote speaker. Her bestselling debut novel, “This I Know,” was a Delilah Book Club selection. She is also the subject of the award-winning documentary “Perfect Strangers” that follows one kidney patient and one potential kidney donor in their search for a possible match. Her 2014 memoir, “Lost in Transplantation,” chronicles this life-changing decision. Edwards currently lives and writes in a tiny pink house with her best friend, Brer.
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