cover image Dharma Girl: A Road Trip Across the American Generations

Dharma Girl: A Road Trip Across the American Generations

Chelsea Cain. Seal Press (CA), $12 (180pp) ISBN 978-1-878067-84-5

When Cain, a 24-year-old student at UCLA, learned that her mother had developed cancer, the stucco walls of her prefab college house didn't seem enough to keep her body and soul together. She recalls a simpler time when, with the '60s raging in the background, she and her parents (now separated) lived on an Iowa commune. For Cain, getting back to her roots, and finding the elusive ""Snowqueen""--an imaginary figure her mother told her about years before--was of paramount importance. And so off they went, mother and daughter, down the highways of the Northwest and Midwest, back to Iowa to see what they could find. The family history is fascinating, as are the descriptions of commune life, replete with home gardening, odd jobs and fear of the draft. The story of life on the road is neither Kerouac nor Thelma and Louise, but is a pleasant enough roll. Author Cain is her mother's daughter, so there's little generational conflict here. Get on board if you like pursuing nostalgia rather than forging ahead in the present. Cain would argue that she could not go forward without going back, and that's good enough reason for a road trip. (Nov.)