With little more than a run-down Jeep and their newborn baby in tow, author Micah Perks’ parents set out in 1963 to build a school and a utopian community in the mountains. The school would become known as a place to send teens with drug addictions and emotional problems, children with whom Micah and her sister would grow up.This complex memoir mixes a moving celebration of the utopian spirit and its desire for community and freedom with a lacerating critique of the consequences of those desires — especially for the children involved. How could the campaign for a perfect home and family create such confusion and destruction? The ’60s, for many, became a laboratory of hope and chaos, as young idealists tested the limits of possibility. Micah Perks has cast her unflinching and precise eye on her own history and has illuminated not only those years of her childhood, but a wide-open moment that marked our culture for all time.
An American Childhood
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MICAH PERKS is the author of the novel We Are Gathered Here. Her stories have twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and she is the recipient of a Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts grant, two fellowships at the Blue Mountain Center for the Arts, and an NEA Creative Writing Fellowship. Perks lives in Santa Cruz, where she is an associate professor of literature at the University of California.
"There is breathtaking beauty in this memoir . . . Micah Perks writes with great sympathy, subtlety, and precision about the explosive paradise of her youth."
--Joanna Scott, author of Make Believe "Perks' frank and complex account of her bizarre and dangerous childhood is morbidly fascinating." --Booklist