I received a copy of this ARC courtesy of NetGalley and Daytime Moon Publishing, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
Expected Publication Date: May 4th, 2016
You know, I am really appreciating NetGalley right now. I love it. I love that I get the chance to read some books that I probably wouldn’t be sure if I wanted to spend money on, just because they might not be something I would typically read. Lucky for me, that I took a chance on Dove by M.H. Salter. It turned out to be the right choice!
Japhy would sacrifice his freedom for people he will never meet. Ray would sacrifice all those unknown people just to protect him.
In 1970, when Japhy receives his draft notice for the Vietnam War, he and girlfriend, Ray, become Dharma Bums. They pack their lives into a duffel bag, and hitch their way to the Canadian border – a safety zone that, once a draft dodger enters, he can never leave. Ever. Not to see family. Not to help injured friends. Not even to attend a father’s funeral.
On the road, Japhy and Ray are joined by flower children, Leaf and Laura, and all four decide to find a hippie commune in Toronto where they will be free of their demons, and safe with their secrets. Or will they?
Amidst a colorful whirl of psychedelics, love-ins, original music, and political protests, Japhy and his friends discover everything has a price, freedom is not free, and true peace comes at a cost whether you are fighting for it in a war or simply within the depths of your own soul.
How far would you go for freedom?
The plot for Dove was great. You don’t really get to read a lot of novels that tackle the Vietnam War, nor the 70’s era in general. I think Salter did a great job bringing that period to life. However, I may be a bit bias with that because I love the 70’s. Have you ever seen Dazed and Confused? If you have then you know exactly what I’m talking about. But in this novel, we get a glimpse of the not so fun part of the Age of Free Love, the Vietnam War. The book starts and immediately things begin to happen which I thought was a good idea because as the book goes on, it becomes less about the action and more about the characters and their emotional and mental development. Which, seeing as they’re only 18 and 19 years old, you can imagine will be quite extensive.
Oh, Ray. I really tried to like her because she holds onto her convictions so strongly and doesn’t let anyone push her around, but I just couldn’t. I found her to be insufferably annoying. She kept making mistake after mistake and never seemed to really learn from them. I think too that a lot of her problems could have been fixed if she just talked to someone and quit all of the lying. But I tend to get pretty annoyed when books use miscommunication as a way to create conflict. This is probably due to the fact that I will always just tell you what I think. It’s not hard people, this isn’t rocket science. JUST TALK IT OUT. So, I’m sorry, Ray. But you’re a bit of a brat and for being as smart as you are, way too immature.
However, I really enjoyed Japhy. He was a sweet guy and always tried to do the right thing which was a nice contrast to Ray, who really only focused on herself. I loved seeing how he wanted to protect everyone, and especially in regards to his interactions with his platoon. He was always trying to look out for everyone else and that’s really admirable. It was also interesting to see how he played off of Leaf and the differences between the two male characters.
The writing in Dove was really well done, as well. There are some amazing quotes in this story. I love the way Salter writes, she has such a way with words that just speak to you. And I think it is so awesome that she weaved music by the folk-singer, James Lee Stanley, so seamlessly into the novel. You can even buy the album with all of the songs referenced in the book to listen to while you’re reading that will help enhance the experience. How cool is that?! The pacing was pretty steady throughout the novel, though it did slow down a tad towards the end as it began to focus more on the character development, rather than action. However, the ending is intense and will leave you begging for answers, especially if you’re like me and don’t like cliffhangers. So just be prepared!
I really enjoyed Dove and I recommend everyone to go and read it when it comes out in a few months. Or you can be like me, and high-tail it over to NetGalley and request it immediately! Just remember that this is not a YA novel and deals with adult themes such as drug use and sexual content.