❴EPUB❵ ✼ Summer at High Kingdom Author Louise Dickinson Rich – Horse-zine.co.uk

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13 thoughts on “Summer at High Kingdom

  1. says:

    Louise Dickinson Rich is best known as the author of We Took to the Woods, a memoir published in 1942 about her pioneer-like life with her husband deep in the Maine woods which was a bestseller in its day and is still in print. Having read and enjoyed this, I was intrigued to come across this children's book by her and felt honor-bound to give it a try. However, I approached it with great trepidation. It was published in 1975 when Rich must have been in or approaching her seventies, and the subject is hippies setting up a commune on a farm in Maine, told from the point of view of a local boy. I had a preconceived idea of how she would feel about the counter culture, partly based on her frankly boring memoir about raising her children in a Boston suburb after her husband's death, Only Parent. After her unconventional tales of braving the Maine wilderness, that book is a disappointment. Apart from the tame setting, it is permeated with a staid, socially conservative world view. At one point she mentions an acquaintance, a woman of great intelligence and wit, who she recognizes as a kindred spirit, but writes regretfully that it was impossible to be friends with her as she had "had to get married". That probably says a lot about the precariousness of the social position of a youngish widow in the 1950's, but still. Anyway, going back to the book at hand, if you cannot make out the blurb at the top of the cover, it reads "Hippies living in a commune? They were sure to bring trouble." I fully expected the story to be as unintentionally hilarious as its cover.

    The book really surprised me though. Although I chuckled on page 15 when Dana, the boy who lives on the farm neighboring the commune, thinks to himself "Gosh darn hippies...Them and their long hair", the story is really quite a thoughtful exploration of the culture clash between the young people at High Kingdom (one of whom has a baby, which is not considered by the author as an unforgivable strike against the unwed mother). Rich clearly shows that many of the local people are unreasonably prejudiced, and that the hippies are for the most part sincere good-hearted people, who end up making different choices (some of them submit to haircuts), but not before teaching some lessons to the local people, particularly Dana's mother and his grandfather, although not always the ones you'd expect. Nothing is cut and dried in this book. What I liked best here was the portrayal of the rural Maine life, and the curiously compelling descriptions of the orderly routine on Dana's farm. The book can't help being a little bit dated, and in fact the concept of being a hippy was probably a bit passe when it was published. It's also marred by one shocking scene in which a man, a local farmer, hits his wife with evident authorial approval. Despite these flaws, I'm glad I read it -- and having done so, am also glad that I can pass it along to its next home and free up some shelf space.


  2. says:

    easy,lazy read with good point made re judging others


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