Where Have All The Flowers Gone?
Pan, London, 1970
(price: 5/- (25p); 208 pages)
(originally published 1969 by William Heinemann)
To my three children - who may know the answer
The blurb on the back:
Rebellion against her hated mother leads a lovely teenager down strange paths...
First, Anna runs to Jake, the brutal layabout who sets himself to corrupt and degrade her. Then she turns to Stephen, an interior decorator, who makes her pregnant...and then discards her - but not for a woman! After a brief affair with the doctor who brings about her abortion, Anna goes overseas. In Africa, she becomes involved with an older man, Mark, who is a famous writer. Back in London, they plan to marry. Has Anna found 'the real thing' at last? She thinks so till, in Mark's absence, she discovers the temptations to a hectic and glittering new world...
Joan Alexander 'handles a topical scourge with courage and vitality' - Richard Church, Country Life
We start in 1962 with a 16-year-old girl named Anna, and follow her through the next three years of her life as she finds her young life shaken up by the experimental atmosphere of the Swinging 60s.
Mostly well-written and well-meaning, this is worthy rather than inspired, entertaining enough but somehow not convincing:
'Are you going to get married?' asked Anna, because this was the most important thing in her life.
Clara shrugged her shoulders. 'We're together. That's all that matters.'
'And you live here?'
'Yes, with these fab people.'
'Who are they? What do they all do?'
'They experiment,' said Clara guardedly.
'LSD. Heroin. Things like that.'
'You mean hard drugs?' said Anna, appalled.
'Yah. Aren't you enlightened?'
'Aren't I what?'
'Enlightened. Don't you know about these things? All those people were having a "trip" in the room you were in.'
'Yes an LSD trip. I don't have one often but it's out of this world. You feel divine. Great! Really big, man! Haven't you heard of Tim Leary?'
'He's the greatest. He's the American who is the prime partisan and prophet of LSD. Honestly, Anna, you haven't lived until you've had psychedelic experience. It opens your soul...' (pp.95-96)
And so on, and so forth.
Important disclaimer: Readers are not advised to have a 'trip' of their own, no matter what 'the prime partisan and prophet of LSD' might say.
ARTISTIC MERIT: 2/5
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: 2/5
HIPNESS QUOTIENT: 2/5