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California Golden

Title: California Golden

Author: Melanie Benjamin

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Genre: Historical/Women’s Fiction

’ll be honest and the cover of this book completely sold this one for me! Because a book about surfing culture in the 1960s . . . I know next to nothing about surfing! And further more . . . why would this be so important!? Well, as historical fiction books often go, there is always so much more. Under a coming of age story this book took on the Vietnam War/USO tours, women wanting to be more than just a wife & mother, unorthodox childhoods, racism, drug trafficking/cults, abuse, and feminism. As you can see this one was filled to the brim and I couldn’t stop during the pages between the Donnelly women.

The first two-thirds of the story goes back and forth being narrated between sister’s Mindy and Ginger. It gives you snippets of the past of their childhood, especially their teen years with their mother, Carol. This is when the girls thought their mother would abandon them (why not…their dad already left!), so they took up her beloved surfing with her. Soon, Carol had them skipping school and surfing was everything. In present day Mindy has become an actress and still competively surfs. Ginger has gone down a dark path with a man that involves drugs and cults.

The last third of the book is told from Carol’s point of view and we learn about her high school years, when she got married, what she gave up, and so on. This part really pulled the story full circle and together.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I was completely transported into this era and the coast of California. I could almost smell and taste the salty air. While these characters weren’t necessarily always the most likable, I felt satisfied with my time with them and the ending. It’s always enjoyable reading about familes. Check out this book I think should be being talked about more!

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