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Purple Daze by Sherry Shahan

Purple Daze (edition 2011)

by Sherry Shahan

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This story is raw, honest, powerful, told from 6 points of view and taking place mostly in 1965. I was a teen during the time of this novel so am familiar with the music and themes. The characters lived in California where drugs were more prevalent. The author packs a lot of punch into an easy-to-read format, which isn't to say it would have been easy to write. The characters feel authentic. The mandatory draft, the Vietnam War, the drug culture, including parents, the angst and trials of teen years all are part of the story.

It's a timeless story, even though it's steeped in a historical period. Teens always struggle with romance and temptation and real life issues. Not all parents are the Cleavers and we all need love. The tone of the book seemed optimistic, upbeat, despite the tough spots most teens experience. The moments of anger didn't drag on.

The story could be educational for those who didn't live through this time, and for others who did but weren't involved in the drug culture or the war. There are clips of real quotes and events of the day sprinkled throughout. The story will zing for those who were young people in this era and who will understand all the various words and references. ( )
  Rascalstar | Jan 21, 2017 |
Book of poems and journal entries. Brings life to the turmoil of the 1960's. ( )
  TeamDewey | Apr 30, 2014 |
A story of the year 1965 told from the view point of 6 high school friends in free verse and poetry style. The relationships were difficult to discern at times. I thought that there was much hidden in the writing that would not be obvious to the target audience. Quick read. ( )
  dms02 | Feb 27, 2014 |
The Sixties: a time of free spirits, revolutionary measures, devastating war, and an intensely evolving American culture. This fiction-based historical recount embraces a tone and format as unique as the era it seeks to illuminate. Echoing the voices of the typical teenager superimposed upon a not-so-typical backdrop, this collection of journal entries, notes, and poetry addresses a wide range of experiences, emotions, and inner hopes and fears. The perspectives of six focal students—Ziggy, Mickey, Cheryl, Nancy, Don, and Phil—are intermixed with short summaries of historical events that shaped this intense time in our nation’s history. The student excerpts, while simple in structure and length, are rife with hidden meaning and underlying contexts, such that less advanced readers may struggle to grapple with the intended significance. Nonetheless, this book provides an engaging supplement—if not alternative—to otherwise content-heavy tomes describing the profound events of 1965. ( )
  paulavev | Dec 5, 2012 |
Using a timeline technique, this book gives glimpses into the lives of a fictional group of high schoolers throughout the socially and politically explosive year 1965. Each narrator, loosely based on the author and her own friends, tells her or his experience through mediums including short letters, journal entries and stream-of-consciousness musings. Interspersed throughout these narratives are nuggets of historical information — from brief biographical accounts of figures like Malcom X and Norman Morrison to selective fact sheets on Lysergic Acid Diethylamide and Napalm to summary retellings of such events as “Bloody Sunday” and the SDS march on Washington to excerpts from speeches given by President Johnson and Martin Luther King, Jr. and quotes from popular music as well as songs sung at boot camp. This book is essentially a mini-course on American history. In particular, it humanizes the American youth experience of the Vietnam war. In one vivid juxtaposition, readers learn about the Thanksgiving menu served to military brass on one page, followed by character Phil’s writing home about eating expired SPAM. Not all tame, though, there are bloody depictions of events from both the war and the civil unrest at home. The topic of abortion is also glossed over. Although aimed at teens, the content in this book is quite mature. In addition, the short chunks of text give the deceptive appearance of an easy read; instead, the book requires readers to make informed inferences to fully comprehend its suprisingly deep-treatment of content. Recommended for upper high school. It could be used in a collaborative unit between English and history teachers. Also a good study of point of view. ( )
  English_Teacher | Nov 3, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0762440716, Hardcover)

Purple Daze is a young adult novel set in suburban Los Angeles in 1965. Six high school students share their experiences and feelings in interconnected free verse and traditional poems about war, feminism, riots, love, racism, rock 'n' roll, high school, and friendship.

Although there have been verse novels published recently, none explore the changing and volatile 1960's in America-- a time when young people drove a cultural and political revolution. With themes like the costs and casualties of war, the consequences of sex, and the complex relationships between teens, their peers, and their parents, this story is still as relevant today as it was 45 years ago.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:12 -0400)

Six high school students in a high school in Los Angeles in 1965 express their experiences and feelings in journal entries, notes, letters and poems.

(summary from another edition)

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