Review of Season of the Witch by James Leo Herlihy


I honestly have a hard time explaining why I enjoyed this novel. There should have been so much about it that made me go, “What am I reading?” Is this a book about politics, marijuana, incest, government, teenagers, utopia, or the insanity of one girl? There was so much this book did an excellent job of explaining without feeling like you needed to choke on details.

Witch, the name the main character takes on when she runs away from home, tells the whole novel from her point of view as she writers it in her diary. She and her best friend John escape to New York after he’s received his draft letter in September of 1969. In New York they meet people like them, against the war but pro smoking marijuana, and talk. The whole novel is a lot of discussions between people and their thoughts and what they believe a perfect society would be. Meanwhile, Witch finds her father and tries to get the communist to join her side of thinking.

The ending is disappointing, there is no resolution to anything really, but at the same time it completely works for the novel. The novel was never about a hard plot that had a clear beginning, middle, and an end. The novel was about Witch and how her interactions with others affected her thoughts and process. Written in 1971, the novel is great insight into what some were thinking during the war though it is still a fictitious and to be taken with a grain of salt.

Reasons to Read:

– Excellent storytelling from a high 17-year-old character that keeps in character rather than giving voice to Herlihy

– You enjoy a little bit of history through the eyes of cloud smoke

– You enjoy older novels

Reasons Not To Read:

– Incest becomes a major plot point

– The characters aren’t all that sympathetic

– No Resolution in the end

Posted on June 22, 2012, in Book Reviews, June 2012 and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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