Wow! Wow! Wow! I would give this book 10 stars if I could. The writing is divine, the plot amazing and the characters so real I think I know them personally. And maybe I do. This is the story of the same kind of neighborhood I lived in from age two to nine from 1956 to 1963.
It's 1959. The houses on Hemlock Drive are identical. The men take great pride in their lawns. The kids play outside until the moms call them in for dinner. All the moms stay home and bake cookies for their kids. It's a safe and magical time. Or is it? Author Alice Hoffman creates this neighborhood and populates it with ordinary people living what we sometimes look back on as the perfect time.
And then the nearly unthinkable happens. A divorced mother (in 1959!!!) moves into the neighborhood. Suddenly we get a better peek inside those identical homes on Hemlock Drive and realize there are a myriad of different problems behind closed doors. And mysteries. And yearnings. And jealousies. Broken marriages. Broken psyches. Teenage sex (in 1959!!!). Wife beating. A teenage car theft ring. A runaway mother. Marijuana-smoking teens (in 1959!!!) And a clairvoyant kid. It's a very light touch of the supernatural that brings the book to life and the plot to fruition.
Best of all, you don't have to be of a certain age (translation: baby boomer) to fall in love with this book. It's irresistible!