Sunday, June 3, 2012
Hippie Time Traveler
by Gordon Korman
Hyperion Book CH; Reprint edition (August 26, 2008)
Capricorn "Cap" Anderson has spent his whole life--all thirteen years of it--on Garland Farm, a communal farm started by his grandmother Rain in the sixties. Once home to 14 families, its only remaining residents are Cap and Rain. When Rain falls out of a plum tree and breaks her hip, Cap must move in with Mrs. Donnelly, a guidance counselor and former resident of Garland Farm, and her crabby teenage daughter. Says Mrs. Donnelly on meeting Cap, "I looked at Capricorn Anderson and...I saw--not a case, but a time traveler, about to step into a world that had forgotten the sixties except for J.F.K. and the Beatles."
Having been home schooled and knowing nothing of the outside world--he's never watched t.v., never eaten pizza, never played a video game--Cap is totally unprepared for Claverage Middle School, or C Average as the students call it, which he must attend while Rain is recovering from her broken hip. Cap is an obvious target for the school bullies. He has never cut his hair, wears hemp clothes and tie-dyed shirts, plays Beatles music on his guitar, is a vegetarian, and practices T'ai chi on the lawn. No wonder the popular kids decide to elect Cap president of the student body, a dubious honor, as tradition dictates that the biggest nerd in school is always nominated--and always wins.
Cap doesn't see how he can be president, since he doesn't know any one's name. As he astutely points out, "Life certainly gets complicated when you know more than one person." Schooled is a thought-provoking read. Rigid conformity is certainly not a good idea, but is it wise to live completely off the grid with no contact with the modern consumerist society? Is it fair to raise a child to completely reject society in favor of a more isolated self-reliant lifestyle? But are there not many useful lessons to be learned in that self-reliant way of living that our modern world has forgotten? Is there a way to blend the ideals of the sixties with the realities of the new millennium? Though I found the ending rather pat and could envision a more satisfying one, the book is pure fun and laugh-out loud funny. Everyone will fall for Capricorn Anderson, one of the most charming hippies the 21st century has ever known.
To buy from Amazon, click Schooled.