Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Virgin Soul by Judy Juanita

“God, San Francisco was such a thief. A lady of the night, a sorceress with her hands out...we had to pay to get in, pay to get out, pay for every little thing. ... Pay for the Pacific Ocean and the beach. I am expensive, the city always said, so pay me for my wonderful dark treats..."

Virgin Soul is set in the San Francisco of the 1960s, a tumultuous time and place in American history and, unfortunately, not one I know much about. I procrastinated on this review a bit because what can I possibly say about its accuracy or its authenticity? I have a feeling I wasn’t as emotionally connected to the actual people and events in the books as I should have been, because I couldn’t tell what was real and what was fiction until I looked it up later. But I can tell you the driving force of this novel for me is the heroine’s frank, simple appeal. I was on her side as soon as she peed in the elevator of a decadent clothing boutique. I can tell you the book made San Francisco seem like a hungry living thing and the narrator’s voice gives the whole story an electric feeling like something big is always about to happen. And I can say I found common ground with Geniece’s big ideas, the same I think any progressive kid from college would even if they came from a different background.

Although I don’t have much of a context to fit this story into, I appreciated the issues Geniece faces and the chance to read about the beginning of the black power movement. 

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