Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Review: Purple Daze by Sherry Shahan

Book Description:

Purple Daze is a young adult novel set in suburban Los Angeles in 1965. Six high school students share their experiences and feelings in interconnected free verse and traditional poems about war, feminism, riots, love, racism, rock 'n' roll, high school, and friendship.

Although there have been verse novels published recently, none explore the changing and volatile 1960's in America-- a time when young people drove a cultural and political revolution. With themes like the costs and casualties of war, the consequences of sex, and the complex relationships between teens, their peers, and their parents, this story is still as relevant today as it was 45 years ago.

Source: Running Press & Nicole (Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

Purple Daze was a collection of a hundred moments in one book, written from six points of views, bits of poems, journal entries, letters and historical speeches. A group of friends made up of three girls, three boys were the stars of this novel: Ziggy, Cheryl, Nancy, Mickey, Don and Phil. The war and the revolution affected these people.

What I really liked about Purple Daze was that the author was able to capture my attention through her words. I was able to understand what happened in 1965-1966 and I was able to experience it. I felt for Ziggy, Cheryl, Phil and Nancy. This novel showed that despite all the changes that happened throughout the years, some things just never change. I found love, war, betrayal, pain, hesitation, sadness and rejection in this novel.

It was hard to put this down when I got into the story which was almost right away. I was intrigued with what was happening to the characters. The six characters were involved in different stages of relationships. Ziggy and Mickey were what I would say a temporary couple out for fun and sex. Cheryl and Don were in a somewhat chaste and serious relationship. Cheryl did not want to give up her virginity just yet despite the pressure. Nancy and Phil were not exactly a couple but they have feelings for each other. It got worse when Phil served in the army. Cheryl, Phil and Mickey were the ones I got to read about the most. They wrote each other. I found myself looking forward to read Phil’s letters. To read how Phil was doing, being stuck there, fighting and ducking for his life while worrying and being sad because Nancy has stopped writing him. The tension and awkwardness between Ziggy and Mickey increased when Ziggy kept asking him about their future. I found it sad and heartbreaking that she wanted to have a family with someone who did not want to.

Purple Daze is a quick read, a glimpse into the past and a realistic representation of a hundred persons, emotions, thoughts and intentions. I recommend this to people who like historical novels and to people who like novels in verse.




  1. Great review! I have this in my TBR pile and I'm hoping to start it soon, so I'm happy to hear that you enjoyed it. Hopefully, I will too.

  2. First review I've read for this book and I am sold! I love that it contains so much different types of relationships and love and friendships and each person has their own unique set of problems. I'm really interested in reading this, thanks for the review Precious!

  3. Thanks so much for such a thoughtful and insightful review. I'm especially pleased that you connected directly with the character Phil, since he's based on a friend who was in Vietnam in the 1960s. I wrote to him long after his girlfriend sent him a painful Dear John letter. Rock on! Sherry Shahan