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Posted March 27, 2001
2 Good 2 Be 4 Got 10
'Kinflicks' is a witty and zestful take on the Sixties, basically a Baby Boomer's coming-of-age story but far above the norm in quality. Our heroine hails from little 'Hullsport' (read: Kingsport) Tennessee, goes Up North to a good college, and gets into the Sixties just as they heat up. Of the many virtues of this novel, two stand out to me: (1) Alther narrates the story in a moderate point-of-view, avoiding the twin perils of getting too immersed in the subject or too distant and 'snooty'; and (2) related to this, her lead character's voice (which reflects her personality) is good, clear and steady throughout the book. Alther's literary creation is a 'feminist' in most salutory sense of the work, but this novel doesn't contain the mandatory man-bashing that became so common a few years later. Instead, Alther invokes an avalance of wit and sharp observation that will provoke a healthy nostalgia in the over-40s, a realistic warts-and-all view of that Sixties in the under-40s, and a pretty darn good look at that pivotal decade for young adult readers who pick up the book. Perhaps you know a teen who's 'into' the 1960s?
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