Callie's Reviews > Arcadia

Arcadia by Lauren Groff
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's review
May 29, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: audio, 2012

On audio! dust is sprinkled on memories, so that they shine..."

Arcadia is the story of Bit, who grows up on a commune in upstate New York. The story begins when Bit (who is so called because he is very little, the "littlest bit of a hippie") is just 4 years old, living in a bread truck with his parents in "Ersatz Arcadia", the group of tents, lean-to's, vans, and other temporary houses that house the commune until the mansion on the land, Arcadia house, is restored. The story follows Bit through childhood in Arcadia, to when the commune is disbanded, to the present day and beyond.

I loved how Lauren Groff portrayed Bit's parents and the other members (excuse me, Free People) of Arcadia- there's no mocking tone, no irony. While their lives are completely different from how "normal people" lived, in a lot of ways things were similar- marital tensions, group politics, and personality differences still exist for this group, and this makes them relate-able.

My one issue with the book was SPOILER ALERT how the timeline went to an almost dystopic future, where a global pandemic closes the cities and global warming has wiped out the coastal regions. At that point, I almost stopped, because it felt like the author was inserting herself and her message so blatantly into the book. I'm glad I stuck with it, because while those crises framed the atmosphere and the environment, the story stayed small and in the last quarter or so, quite heartbreaking.

I listened to the audio version of the book, and the narration was fine- nothing incredible, but not terrible either.

Overall, I gave this book 4 stars, rounded up from the 3.75 I would have given it if able.
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Jamie I feel the same way about the change toward the end, but also feel the same way about getting used to it and loving the end.

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