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The narrator, Cedar, was born in 1969 in North Carolina. Her mother Sara, devastated at the time by the recent death of her brother Jimmie in Vietnam, had succumbed to the seductions of bandana-wearing Sol and had moved with him into an abandoned house without plumbing, where the two lived off the proceeds of Sol's dope dealing. Sol draws on the walls and paints the floor like a rainbow, and when Cedar is born, he has 60 friends over to celebrate. When Cedar is four, Sara puts her mattress in the van and she and Cedar leave—the house is cold and Sol passes out too often. Heading into Taos, the van breaks down, and handsome Daniel gives Sara and Cedar a lift. He has a girlfriend but falls for Sara anyway, and soon the trio is headed back to North Carolina, to the house that they're sure Sol couldn't have kept up on his own. Acquaintances Woody and Elaine and their two kids move in, too. Elaine bakes, Woody makes pots, and the children become best friends, and Sara is pregnant with Daniel's baby. Then Woody invites griping, unpleasant Topaz to stay, and suddenly Daniel is reading poetry to her, and then he's moved into her bedroom. Sara takes to her own bed, where she's nursed by Cedar; Daniel skulks in Topaz's room, sneaking down at night to steal food. And then Topaz is pregnant. She departs, and Daniel wants back into the family, but the house burns down and everyone's idyll is over. College-age Cedar's recollections are both wise and forgiving and add up to a complex blend of undiluted nostalgia for those anarchic days with the warmth of her extended family, and a clear-eyed view of the complexities within that edenic world.
In an accomplished debut, a dead-on rendition of the idealism and the emotional flux of an untraditional household.
Question: Why does Sara never read Jimmie's last letter? What does keeping it sealed mean to her?
Question: Cedar obeys her mom, and doesn't tell Sol when they're getting ready to leave. Why? What makes her relationship with her mom closer than that with her dad?
Question: Sara decides to start a new life after Two Moons burns down, away from Elaine and Woody. Why do you think she does this?
Question: What attracted Sara to Sol and Daniel? What attracts her to Jack, who is so different from the other two? What do you think contributed to the instability of Sara's relationships with Sol and Daniel?
Question: A lot of kids get jealous when a new child arrives on the scene, but Cedar never feels that way about Roo. Why?
Question: Sara implies that the fathers of her two children were choices influenced by her brother's death. What do you think led her to chose these men, so different from her brother the soldier?
Question: How realistically do you feel the commune life is portrayed in this book? What makes it (in)accurate?
Question: How does the time period portrayed in this book compare with your memories of that era — or with the stories you've heard about that time?
Question: Why did John Lennon's death make Sara and Cedar want to remember Two Moons? Why didn't they include Roo?
Question: Why doesn't Sara tell her own story? Why is Cedar so fiercely protective of her mother?
Question: One of the remarkable things about Sara and Cedar's commune lifestyle is the freedom it affords. What does Life Without Water say about this kind of freedom? In your opinion, is the price worth its benefits?
Posted December 7, 2008
This is am Amazing book. Once I picked it up, it was hard to put it down.<BR/>I feel for Cedar and the way she lives this is book. The hard times she went through, and caring for her mother. It is a truly moving book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 29, 2001
This book was outstanding! I wouldn't put the book down for anything. Nancey Peacock paints a passionate picture of one girl's life. I'm purchasing this book so I can give to my friends and family to read. I highly recommend it for a one rainy day read!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.