Forbidden love. Counter-culture. The shadow of Vietnam. Sexual revolution. Social unrest. Marijuana and LSD. In Larry Smith’s intriguing coming-of-age novel, The Free Farm, we journey back to America’s turbulent late 60s and early 70s. Lee McCall leaves his Ohio Valley steel mill town to attend Ohio University, but the going isn’t easy as he takes classes, works to support himself, and tries to form a utopia--a free living commune or "an adventure in group living" in an Appalachian farmhouse. Smith provides a unique window into Lee’s life that is driven by idealism, love of Emerson and Thoreau, and devotion to his beautiful partner, Sharon, who practices Zen, meditates, and can fix cars. Between college life and work, the troubles of his family back home, and the challenges of his new communal family, Lee evolves from a boy who left "a golden time when the world seemed safe and right" to a man with a global vision who needs to stand for something, embrace his destiny, and know where his real home lies. In this realistic yet often surprising and tender novel, a quoted line from "The Waking" by Theodore Roethke may serve as our guidepost: "I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow/I feel my fate in what I cannot fear/I learn by going where I have to go."
~ Laura Treacy Bentley, author of Lake Effect
"Larry Smith's THE FREE FARM is both a novel and a romance about the hard truth of family and the ways we discover the nature of who we are by whom and what we love. Written in a strong, sensitive but never sentimentalizing voice, Smith has penned a kind of spiritual being-of-age novel, while still providing a clear-eyed look at a turbulent, fascinating era of the American experience."
- Charles Dodd White, author of Lambs of Men and Sinners of Sanction County