(Las Vegas, NV)
Soda Springs is an engaging novel that can be enjoyed on many different levels. Pick one or experience them all: relive your own “coming of age” challenges; recall your own struggles with your moral – and political – development; reflect on the role of your own religion in your life; or simply savor great writing and great storytelling about some people you would love sit down with to share your life views.
For me, being transported back to 1963 evoked myriad emotions of that very confusing time. The folks in Soda Springs could have been my family members, my friends, and the families of my friends. Not that their backgrounds were identical, but the human issues being confronted were and are universal and timeless. The civil rights issues could have been those of the competing religious and cultural groups of the country I was living in at the time. The people depicted are compelling, not extreme or melodramatic caricatures.
The big issues of the day, while not necessarily solved or resolved, are all there: civil rights, war (Viet Nam), religion, moral conflicts. All are approached believably by a cast of characters that one can both relate to and care about. Particularly easy to identify with, as well as perfectly portrayed, were the conflicts for the girls: Ginny Sue, Karen, and Concha – whether it was their relationships with their parents, boyfriends, or peers. Their conversations rang true – especially for the time. The challenges of the parents and their roles as parents and/or professionals are not unlike those faced by parents today.
After completing the book, I felt I had actually spent time in Soda Springs, that I knew these people, and that I wanted to talk to them about their experiences and compare our life journeys. And, yes, I was so captivated by people in the book that I actually became annoyed about some of their actions and decisions and wanted to have words with them! I just wanted to tell Rick to grow up! And then it dawned on me -- that's what Soda Springs is all about!