Finish High School at Home: A Novelby Charlie Clark
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The 60s have flickered into the 70s, and hippie influences have trickled down to the high school. A charismatic young messiah quits college and returns to his old high school to lead the kids in an anti-racism demonstration. The students are catalyzed and rise up to battle the suburban power structure. The trouble starts when this 60s legend is shown to be losing touch with reality. Our narrator struggles to understand the messiah's descent, postponing all planning for college as he and his friends take on the social Darwinist hierarchy of high school. The more comic the events, the deeper the menace grows as this dizzying senior year unfolds.
The clash of forces comes during a seminal era when the anti-war movement, feminism, counterculture and black power combined to singe the letter-sweaters and pom-pons of classic high school culture. "As so often happens when history is being made, youth becomes the conscience of society," says our narrator in his belated college application. "But there were fissures in our ranks — we all hailed from different social categories."
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I found FINISH HIGH SCHOOL AT HOME a sharply observed story of high school kids buffeted by the turbulent events of the sixties and early seventies. From hippies to jocks, the whole spectrum of the student community is here, grappling with the turmoil that we, the baby-boomers, fomented. I recommend it to all who lived through those times as well as those who didn¿t, but want to know what all the fuss was about.
Charlie Clark's clever debut novel follows a high school class in suburban Washington, D.C., through the its senior year in 1970-71. The revolution is happening somewhere out there, and they're determined to get a taste. This is a terrific take on high school for everyone who loved -- or even loathed -- the whole experience.
Reading Charlie Clark's newest book made me relive high school again, and to imagine growing up in the 1960s and 1970's. This is a genre that really deserves a revival.