Book Title: A Year in the Company of Freaks by Teresa Neumann
Category: Adult Fiction, 515 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: All’s Well House
Release date: Dec 21, 2015
Tour dates: Sept 11 to 29, 2017
Content Rating: PG + M (Little violence and profanity, no f-words, no sex, but some drug use)
It’s 1972 and a seismic clash-of-cultures is rattling northern California. In the redneck town of Trinity Springs, rumors of hippies migrating up from San Francisco have residents bracing for an invasion. When Italian-American hometown boy and Berkeley graduate Sid Jackson is busted for growing pot on his deceased parents’ farm, locals suspect the assault has begun. Will a crazy deferral program devised by the sheriff keep Sid out of prison? Or will a house full of eccentric strangers, a passionate love interest, and demons from his past be his undoing?
A “disarmingly appealing” tale of discrimination, transformation and restoration, Freaks is bursting with intrigue, drama, comic relief and romance. Reviewers agree this five-star, coming-of-age classic “very much reflects the attitude and mood of the times.”
Praise for A Year in the Company of Freaks:
“This coming of age story will draw the reader right in. Teresa Neumann demonstrates how much she values relationships in her writing … a precious skill. I held my breath all the way through to the final few pages. Five stars!” — The San Francisco Book Review
“As it relates to the complicated clash of culture and counterculture, Freaks acts as an authentic, strongly Seventies book. Northern California works as a strong presence in the novel that is vivid and omnipresent, but never overwhelming. Sure to intrigue and entertain, Freaks will have its digs in you before you realize how involved you’ve become.” — The Manhattan Book Review
To read more reviews, please visit Teresa Neumann’s page in iRead Book Tours.
I rated this book 4 ****’s
Do not judge a person by the way they look
This book is very interesting and historical to read. I was a year behind before I was born when this story started. History is such a fun subject for me to learn while I am at school just like this book.
Do not judge a person by the way they look. Society sometimes is so cruel when they see a person or groups dressing differently. This book is an eye opening for me to learn more about freaks. I call them unique individuals or groups but just like us they are humans but different style.
I like Otis and Pearlie as the characters but loved Sid the most. I loved the setting as well. Country is a quite life and enjoys every moment of it. Sid is a typical guy that was lost in the right direction. He changed a lot from better person to successful man.
This book has sense of humor, suspense and second chance of life and love especially. I enjoyed every chapters that I read. If you like to read historical but not the kind of one, A Year in the company of freaks will put your mind at ease and enjoy the ride for every characters from this book and maybe change your life perspective from freak people.
Author of highly-acclaimed “A Year in the Company of Freaks,” Teresa was raised in a large Midwest family and now lives in Oregon. She is also the author of “Bianca’s Vineyard,” and its sequel, “Domenico’s Table.” Both books are based on the true stories of her husband’s Italian family in Tuscany. In addition to enjoying family, writing, reading, meeting her readers, wine tasting, traveling, and all things Italian, Teresa loves playing the fiddle with other musicians.
When one thinks of hippies in the 1970’s, Haight-Ashbury comes to mind, or Berkeley or some other urban haven of radicalism. But A Year in the Company of Freaks takes place in a small redneck town in northern California. Why did you choose that location for your setting?
I love the simplicity and intimacy small towns afford. They’re places where relationships are often more deeply formed and observed. But most importantly, I picked that location for my book because I was familiar with the area, having lived there for two years in the early 70’s. (Yes, that really is me in the photo on the back cover). The early 70’s truly were historic in that region because it was there that the counter culture began to branch out into rural areas north of San Francisco Bay and Marin County.
As a reader, it’s hard to tell if the changes transpiring in northern California will ultimately be good for the town of Trinity Springs or not. Is that deliberate?
Yes. As an author, I feel I’ve done my job if readers are able to interpret for themselves the answer to that question because, really, it depends on one’s perspective. If you love natural foods and co-op groceries and a counter-culture vibe, you’re bound to be glad that Trinity Springs is changing. If you’re the sort whose favorite eatery is a diner and you think marijuana should never be legalized, you’ll be hoping that the hippie invasion bypasses the town.
But the reality is …?
It’s not so much a question of “if” the counter culture took over the traditional life of pre-1970’s Californians as “how much” it affected communities. It’s a huge state. Northern California alone has a vastly diverse landscape housing all sorts of people groups. While hippies tended to congregate all up and down the coastline and inland a bit, there are also many towns today that resemble small towns in middle America. The counter-culture movement may have seemed invasive but it wasn’t pervasive. In other words, some locations were more receptive and naturally positioned to change than others. But, in general, the entire country – not just California, which was ground zero — was impacted by the hippie movement of the 60’s and 70’s.
The characters in your book fit certain stereotypes. Was there a reason for doing this?
Stereotypes exist because in every people group, enough people demonstrate a quality – good or bad or funny or uniquely different – to warrant over-generalization. It can be a negative thing, and often is, but – if we’re self-deprecating enough – it can also be a fun, positive thing. Travel to other countries and you can’t help but see why certain stereotypes exist: the fun Italians, the sassy Brits, the elegant French. We Americans fall into our own category. Some Yanks are actually proud of certain stereotypes assigned us because it’s part of what makes us who we are. Boisterous? Heck, yeah. Loud? So what. But other stereotypes – especially pertaining to physical appearance, health or politics – may rub us the wrong way because they’re not accurate or reflective of us as individuals. Thus, the danger of stereotyping.
But then some of your characters’ stereotypes are broken.
Exactly. In the case of my main character, an Italian-American hippie, some of the stereotypes he ascribes to could be his undoing if he doesn’t break them, while others work to his benefit. I love to see unhealthy or wrongly-ascribed stereotypes broken. Accurate stereotypes keep us grounded and even humble at times. Broken stereotypes give us hope. Can we all raise a toast to that?