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Clover Blue by Eldonna Edwards

Clover Blue (edition 2019)

by Eldonna Edwards (Author)

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175891,878 (4)None
There are many things twelve-year-old Clover Blue isn't sure of- his exact date of birth, his name before he was adopted into the Saffron Freedom Community, or who his first parents were. What he does know with certainty is that among this close-knit, nature-loving group, he is happy. Here, everyone is family, regardless of their disparate backgrounds-surfer, midwife, Grateful Dead groupie, Vietnam deserter. But despite his loyalty to the commune and its guru-like founder Goji, Blue grapples with invisible ties toward another family-the one he doesn't remember. With the urging of his fearless and funny best friend, Harmony, Clover Blue begins to ask questions. For the first time, Goji's answers fail to satisfy. The passing months bring upheaval to their little clan and another member arrives, a beautiful runaway teen named Rain, sparking new tensions. As secrets slowly unfurl, Blue's beliefs-about Goji, the guidelines that govern their seemingly idyllic lives, and the nature of family itself-begin to shift. With each revelation about a heartbreaking past he never imagined, Blue faces a choice between those he's always trusted, and an uncertain future where he must risk everything in his quest for the truth. Part coming-of-age tale, part love story, part mystery, Clover Blue tenderly explores an unconventional but no less complex family that resonates with our deep-rooted yearning for home.… (more)
Title:Clover Blue
Authors:Eldonna Edwards (Author)
Info:A John Scognamiglio Book (2019), 352 pages
Collections:Your library

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Clover Blue by Eldonna Edwards



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Blue is not quite 11 when one of his mothers in the communal family gives birth. Made to watch the process, it makes him ask which one of the women he came out of. The Olders get uncomfortable; the leader of the commune, Goji, tells Blue that he’ll find out when he turns 12. On Blue’s 12th birthday, the commune is disrupted by the arrival of two people. After, Goji tells Blue that he didn’t mean exactly on Blue’s birthday; he’ll tell him when it’s time. Blue finds this odd, because Goji normally treats Blue as an equal and tells the truth about things.

Set in the 1970s in northern California, Blue tells the story of his upbringing and coming into awareness of his past. Blue loves the members of the small commune. He finds out he was adopted when he was 3 but he remembers nothing of his prior life. He doesn’t even know what his birthname was. He only knows his life in the Saffron Freedom Community, which contains a guru, a surfer, a midwife and healer, a Grateful Dead groupie, a Vietnam deserter, and his best friend, a same age girl, Harmony. They live on a few leased acres, growing their food and living simply. All but Goji live in a large treehouse in an oak tree. They believe in peace, love, kindness, and reverence for all living things and the natural world. They all partake in the work needed to keep things running. There is no electricity or running water; they carry water from the springs. They stay off the radar because the State of California does not recognize the way the commune is set up; they’d have pesky questions like who one’s mother is, and why are they living under a tarp with no toilets other than an outhouse. It seems like heaven. Then things get upset when they get a new member and Goji falls for her.

The story is well paced. I loved the characters. The author really got the widening awareness that Blue has as he grows up. The setting is so well depicted I could feel and see the dry grasses and the rains. She shows that all was not sweetness and light; the commune runs into racism, violence, disdain for the hippie’s lifestyle, and the tragedies that can occur when herbal healing just isn’t enough. She also shows how well adjusted a child can be coming from a non-average up bringing; Blue and Harmony are educated well beyond their age level compared to those in regular school.

Basically the story is a coming of age and a search for identity- a search that’s a little harder for Blue than for most kids. He learns that the Olders are not as perfect as he thought, especially Goji. But they have taught him self-reliance, and that’s what he really needs, in the end.

I loved this book. I sat up until 1 a.m. for two nights reading it because I couldn’t put it down. Then, when I went to start this review, I flipped through it to refresh my memory because I read it two months ago. I ended up sitting up until 1 a.m. for two nights again, rereading, because it immediately sucked me in. And I haven’t reread anything for decades! The writing is such that I lived inside Blue, feeling his feelings. A wonderful piece of nostalgia for those of us who grew up in that era, even if not in the way Blue did. I’d give it 6 stars if I could. ( )
  lauriebrown54 | Sep 13, 2019 |
3.5 Mid 1970s, located near Santa Rosa, the Saffron Freedom Community is a commune, like many that appeared during this time period. All members refer to each other as sister or brother, everything is shared, sex, drugs, chores, but despite this, thx ere are many who hold secrets. Clover Blue is a young boy, best friends with Harmony, and one day they witness a birth, which causes Clover to wonder who his birth mother was. Goji is the leader, and this birth and s new arrival will cause this small commune, great harm.

The time period is wonderfully, and I believe accurately portrayed. Readers enjoyment will depend on their connection to Clover and Harmony. Fortunately I liked them both, and the unraveling of the mystery at the heart of this novel, kept me interested. There is much going on here behind the scenes.

Loyalty to the family we make, grow to love against the pull of blood. I loved the totally unexpected ending and the full circle nature of this story. Plus, I'll admit to being a armchair gawker into the life of a commune, how they work, and how they manage day by day. Edwards writing is clear, concise and we'll done. The pace of the story flows nicely. Although can't see myself in commune living, it was interesting to get a small peak.

ARC from Netgalley. ( )
1 vote Beamis12 | Jun 18, 2019 |
In 1970 I moved to California. From Illinois. For 4 years it was a wonderland of new things. This book brought back many, many memories and I am grateful to Eldonna Edwards for that. The book itself was outstanding in my opinion. ( )
  deb.d | Jun 13, 2019 |
Eldonna Edwards, Author of “Clover Blue” has written an intriguing, captivating, compelling, emotional and memorable novel. I love the way Eldonna Edwards writes her story and vividly describes the characters, community, and landscape. The Genres for this story are Fiction and Mystery. This is also a Coming of Age Novel. The author has written an amazing and thought-provoking story. The story takes place in Northern California in the 1970s in a small commune. The music that is described takes me back in time, singing songs silently. The author describes her colorful cast of characters as unique, questioning, hardworking, complicated and complex.

Clover Blue has the most amazing blue eyes, and often enjoys his days with his best friend Harmony in the Saffron Freedom Community. The leader of the group, Goji believes in living off the earth, going back to nature, and homeschooling. Goji is extremely Philosophical and seems to have an answer for everything. There is a spirit of caring and love in this commune with the differences in the individuals that make it up.

When one of the women gives birth, Clover Blue starts to wonder which of the women is his mother. After asking Goji, Clover Blue seems to get only the information that he is adopted by the group and will find out more information when he is 12 years old. As time passes some new members join.

Clover Blue becomes obsessed with knowing who he is, not realizing the danger and damage that can be caused. Can Clover Blue’s deepest wishes come true?

I loved everything about this novel, and would highly recommend this story. ( )
  teachlz | May 24, 2019 |
Sometimes when you read a book, you are aware that it's a story that you are watching from the outside. Very, very rarely is a book written that consumes you totally and makes you feel like you are part of the story. Clover Blue is one of those books. I felt like it was the 70s and I was living in a commune with all of the people who lived there. I laughed with them and cried with them and understood their feelings about the outside world. I read the last 50 pages very slowly because I wanted to stay with these characters as long as possible. When I finished the book, I set it down and then the next day re-read the last 50 pages. I had a major 'book hangover' when I finished and haven't been able to start another book. Believe me when you I tell you that this is a MUST read.

As the book begins, Clover Blue is 10 years old. He has lived in the Saffron Free Community since he was 3 and doesn't remember anything about his earlier life. He feels part of this commune and loves the members as his own family. Goji, the leader of the commune looks after everyone's well-being. It's a small commune but there is a surfer, a Vietnam deserter, a Grateful Dead groupie, a mid-wife and most important of all, Blue's best friend Harmony. They are the same age and spend time doing chores and roaming through the woods. He talks to her about his unsettled feelings about his life in the commune. No one will really answer his questions about his real parents and how he got to the commune and he begins to question his past more as he grows older. As secrets slowly get shared with Clover Blue, he realizes that he has to make a choice between the family that he lives with and loves and the family he was born into.

This book is so full of wonderful characters. Clover Blue is a maturing young man who has to make some huge decisions at an early age; Harmony has been abandoned by her mother and covers it up with her bravery and outspokenness; Rain is new to the commune but holds the key to many secrets. As you get to know all of the characters, you feel a connection to them. You understand their feelings and you laugh and cry with them -- I must admit that I cried at lot during the last 50 pages - both times that I read them.

This is an unforgettable book about family and love and how we all yearn to have connections with other people no matter what the circumstances are. It's beautifully written and the characters - especially Clover Blue -- will stay with you for a long time. This book is going to be THE book that everyone talks about once its published so make sure that it's on your TBR lists - you don't want to miss it.

Thanks to the author for a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own. ( )
  susan0316 | Mar 2, 2019 |
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