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Wyoming Trail Paperback – 7 May 1998
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It's 1968. The time of Woodstock and the end of repression. Francine's father, Leon, tunes in, turns on and leaves Seattle for London. Trailing in his wake, his wife and three daughters have little hope of attaining domestic bliss with a man who rejects all conventions, including the family.
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15 November 2001
Cheryl Moskowitz describes vividly and accurately what it was like for her American heroine to be displaced to England in the heady (literally) 60's with a father on his own search to find himself and his own way unencumbered by his wife and kids. On the way he experiments with all the forms of communal living that we thought might give us the resolution to the traps and ties of family life. ( see Together for a filmed version of this) However in doing so he re-creates the dysfunctional family war-zone and we through Moskowitz's writing get to experience the full pain and shame of being effectively parentless. This inevitably leads the heroine into a young womanhood of depression and anorexia. Not so unfamiliar. However what follows is unique as this heroine embarks on a quest for father whcih leads to some amusing stays in San Francisco in Maupin country. Then what really lifts the book out of the ordinary is the development of this life story through and beyond the 20-something sexual acting out stage into old age. There is a triumphal reclamation of self for the heroine and a successful denoument that is neither glib or easy. It is perfectly believable, and how wonderful to read of a woman's successful growth to maturity. many congratulations to Cherly not only for the style of her writing but for the ground-breaking content. This would be a good recomendation for women in their 20's to read- to know that someone else has been in that place of lack of self-worth and formlessness but also to show an adventure through and beyond it. Way to go girls!
13 December 2001
I really enjoyed this book. A twelve-year-old girl arrives in Britain with her dysfunctional family for a holiday, and never gets to go home again; instead she finds herself dragged along behind her unusual parents; she negotiates the changing society of the seventies and tries to build herself a life, whilst feeling compelled to seek her errant father and try to build a relationship with him. The story is very entertaining and funny at times as well as being very moving and ultimately inspiring. It also provides British-born readers of the baby boomer generation with an unusual take on the country they grew up in and thought they knew all about.
25 February 2009
This novel is written as the story of Francine who is highly intelligent but also feisty and with insightful sensitivity, in a raw family atmosphere, where she outshines her older more average sister. She is shameless in testing the limits and is both the apple of her hippy father's eye and the target of his unpredictable rages. She is on a quest for love, whatever that is, and she is equipped for the challenges. She is in a way Ulysses, undergoing tests of resilience, mental and emotional, repeatedly beaten down only to revive and start out again. She has memorable relationships with her grandmother and her favourite teacher not least among the guides who crop up along her journey to self-discovery and balance in the game of being human. The hardest story is told as a confession to a cleric, who turns out to be a layman. The novel straddles America and England, where she and her sister entertain us with their discoveries of the differences of language and culture among English speakers. Longing for her father takes her to more and more meetings with contorted humanity reacting to the controls and turbulences of the past. Through suffering anorexia nervosa, she gives us a knowing take on the medical profession in training; and anyone giving or receiving treatment or psychotherapy might well feel better equipped. We repeatedly encounter the boundaries of morality, and the reader remains alongside Francine, with her sensitivities to those she is tied to, and with her delightfully changing perspectives. The last part of the novel is surprising and strange and a feat of imagination. The prose throughout flows in and out of memory, dream, story-telling and imagination, in a well wrought story of the family reaching its limits and in the end it is joyfully found strong enough to survive the turbulence when `one side of the banisters has been missing.'
from Anna Medcalf
from Anna Medcalf
25 February 2009
Wyoming Trail is a novel you'll keep close at hand during even the busiest day, ready , at the first opportunity to plunge back into the world of Francine Weitz, your new best friend. The title might lead you to expect a story of the great outdoors: instead it traces the path taken by Francine's life as she grows up. Her father leaves:good riddance says the reader, as Leon, this superbly imagined monster of hippy 1960's selfishness, departs. The account of the wounds he leaves and of Francine's attempts to repair her life, though sometimes shocking, never lose their note of wry humour. Only gradually do we come to appreciate how carefully Moskowitz has structured her novel. When it closes with an unexpected shift, she leaves us both satisfied and challenged.
27 April 2009
From the first page I was hooked. The humanity and the expert handling of time in the telling of the story as well as the pace ensured I was never bored, couldn't in fact put the book down. Moskowitz has a fine ear for dialogue, her characters ring true and the humour had me laughing out loud. But it is a serious book and in Leo, the runaway father, she has created a self-centred monster with a vulnerability which never lets Francine go. Or does it? Wyoming Trail is well worth following.