A Year in the Company of Freaks by Teresa Neumann

It's 1972 and a seismic clash-of-cultures is rattling northern California.

Synopsis - 

In the redneck town of Trinity Springs, rumors of hippies migrating up from San Francisco have residents bracing for an invasion. When Italian-American hometown boy and Berkeley graduate Sid Jackson is busted for growing pot on his deceased parents' farm, locals suspect the assault has begun. Will a crazy deferral program devised by the sheriff keep Sid out of prison? Or will a house full of eccentric strangers, a passionate love interest, and demons from his past be his undoing?

A "disarmingly appealing" tale of discrimination, transformation and restoration, Freaks is bursting with intrigue, drama, comic relief and romance. Reviewers agree this five-star, coming-of-age classic "very much reflects the attitude and mood of the times."

Review - 

This is a fun review to write as author Teresa Neumann surprised me and I love being surprised by an author.

When I cracked open A Year in the Company of Freaks I balked at the length - 511 pages. WOW!  Could the story really stay compelling with that many pages and would I get through it in time to write this review.  THREE DAYS LATER I was done.  How did that happen?  I am a fast reader, but the truth was I couldn't put it down.

A Year in the Company of Freaks unfolds through flashbacks and the experiences of several different characters. This is a complex way to tell a story, but the author handles it beautifully. Life, love, loss, humanity and truth all find their expression here is a story that will keep the pages flying by.

When Sid Jackson is forced to move back to the family farm for a year and take on four diverse boarders, everything he had come to embrace while living in Berkeley is put to the test.  And returning to live in a home filled with childhood memories - something he had been avoiding at all costs - causes the well-buried grief he has carried over his parents death when he was only 12 to bubble up.  Added on top is the daily dynamic created by the odd group of boarders ranging from God-fearing to Vietnam veteran.

This is a coming of age story in many ways.  Yes, most of the characters are in their 20's, but as anyone who grew up in the hippy era knows, most of us did our best to walk away from every expectation we were raised with. We threw out the good right along with the bad.  It was a time of change during which our move into adulthood didn't come easily. Most of us took awhile to figure it all out and give ourselves permission to find a balance between old and new.

A great read and a great look back for me personally at a time I remember well.

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Meet The Author - 

A Great Author Interview HERE!

Author of highly-acclaimed "A Year in the Company of Freaks," Teresa was raised in a large Midwest family and now lives in Oregon. She is also the author of "Bianca's Vineyard," and its sequel, "Domenico's Table." Both books are based on the true stories of her husband's Italian family in Tuscany. In addition to enjoying family, writing, reading, meeting her readers, wine tasting, traveling, and all things Italian, Teresa loves playing the fiddle with other musicians.

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