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His Illegal Self

Carey, Peter

(Book - 2008)
Average Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
His Illegal Self
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When the boy was almost eight, a woman stepped out of the elevator into the apartment on East Sixty-second Street and he recognized her straightaway. No one had told him to expect it. That was pretty typical of growing up with Grandma Selkirk . . . No one would dream of saying, Here is your mother returned to you. His Illegal Self is the story of Che--raised in isolated privilege by his New York grandmother, he is the precocious son of radical student activists at Harvard in the late sixties. Yearning for his famous outlaw parents, denied all access to television and the news, he takes hope from his long-haired teenage neighbor, who predicts, They will come for you, man. They'll break you out of here. Soon Che too is an outlaw: fleeing down subways, abandoning seedy motels at night, he is pitched into a journey that leads him to a hippie commune in the jungle of tropical Queensland. Here he slowly, bravely confronts his life, learning that nothing is what it seems. Who is his real mother? Was that his real father? If all he suspects is true, what should he do? Never sentimental, His Illegal Self is an achingly beautiful story of the love between a young woman and a little boy. It may make you cry more than once before it lifts your spirit in the most lovely, artful, unexpected way.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2008
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 030726372X
9780307263728
Branch Call Number: FICTION CAREY
Characteristics: 271 p. ;,25 cm

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From Library Staff

Che is raised in isolated privilege by his New York grandmother to separate him from his past. He is the precocious son of radical student activists at Harvard in the late sixties. Yearning for his famous outlaw parents, denied all access to television and the news, he takes hopes what an acquain... Read More »


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Jun 28, 2010
  • Spillie rated this: 1.5 stars out of 5.

Hard to see the point to this novel, perhaps I'm just far enough outside the target demographic. Found the writing style difficult to follow and had to really push myself to finish the book (an extreme rarity for me).

Jul 31, 2008
  • Chookie rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

Could not bother to finish this book. Found it difficult to follow; the time frame kept shifing and I often had to reread bits in order to figure out which character was speaking. Found the whole story rather pointless, in fact (despite being old enough to have lived through the sixties!)

Jul 29, 2008
  • patrol_barry rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Reading this book requires at least a basic knowledge of the history and politics of the 1960's in the United States. WIthout it, the content in this otherwise well-written book is meaningless and won't be understood.

Jul 29, 2008
  • jbeckber rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Either I missed the point of this story or I am too young to understand the 60s. I found this book very difficult to understand, to read at all in fact! The way it was written, the ambiguous passages, the shifts in time and main character. Pushed through, but not sure I gained anything from it.

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