Reds by Jack W. Thomas 70s book review

27 Feb

Reds is about two girls who run away from home. They come from a nice middle class life, but one of them, Dorcie, has problem with her mother’s boyfriend. It is not like one thinks of a “real problem” with the mother’s boyfriend.  Anyone who came from a real broken home will find it ridiculous that they want to run away because the materialism around them is just “a drag.”  He did not molest her. The author is making a statement that the hippy values are not meaningful. The character Dorcie is shown early in the novel to be a sociopath. The other girl Polly goes along with Dorcie because she likes her, although there is no clear motive for Polly’s blind allegiances to Dorcie. Especially after Dorcie’s Evil Plan is reveled to the reader. They meet a nice boy named Cole. He gives them a ride to Santa Barbara.  It is the sort of book one thinks parents would give to their children to convince them not to run away to San Francisco and try to join the hippy scene. My husband who was there says that by 1968 it has already degenerated.  The summer of 1967 was the only time in which it may have been pleasant. I think the book could have been first published around 1970, but I am not sure. But, this is definely a 70s book, even thought it was about the 60s and the book does not say what year it takes place, but I assume it could be anywhere from 1968 to 1975. I have one of the only rare and hard to find copies of this 70s book. I read a note it was published November 1976 by Bantam Books, but this may have been one of  but this may have been one of the second printings. This book was really popular in back in the 70s. I know it had a few printings. I do not want to give the ending, but the ending is just awful. So, you want to know the ending, email me, I will tell you.



I hope you can recognize the cover. I don’t own this image, but I like the art work and I thought to post the artwork, it could jog your memory. The art work cover is also on Amazon.


5 Responses to “Reds by Jack W. Thomas 70s book review”

  1. Nipper Seaturtle February 28, 2015 at 5:15 pm #

    I disagree with nearly everything in your review! It actually sounds like you didn’t read the whole book, just the very beginning and end … And that you, like the folks in the book that the girls denounce, are too “square” to understand anyone’s motives. If you knew anything about adolescent girls, you would understand Polly’s allegiance to Dorcie. The “mean girls” always attract more passive sorts as followers. Polly is bored – Dorcie is fun, adventurous, hip [at least until she starts unraveling after her bad acid trip]. I for once think it’s made clear that it tales place right around 1968 or so – shortly after the “Summer of Love”, but before the Manson murders and Woodstock brought the mainstream’s attention to the fact that the hippie scene attracted a lot of sociopathic – and even psychopathic – types, ready to exploit all the naive, out-of-control teens …
    BTW, I love this book, and all his others as well…

    • tropicalthought March 1, 2015 at 5:46 pm #

      I did read the middle and all parts in which (Spoiler stop reading), Dorcie plans to murder both Polly and Cole. How often is murder considered a normal stage in growing up? She does end up murdering someone before the book is finished. Have you not read it in a long time maybe?

  2. Anita L. Elder August 12, 2016 at 7:51 pm #

    I read this book in 1975 and did a book report on it in 10th grade.

  3. patricia maltby November 25, 2016 at 3:36 pm #

    I didn’t get to read the book it was one of my sister in laws school book 1970 I was a freshman, sorry I didn’t get to read it.

    • macygrant November 25, 2016 at 11:59 pm #

      You can still get a used copy on Amazon. It is a bit expensive, but that is how I got my copy. The first time I read it was from the library when I was 12, and I ended up not finishing it. So, I always wanted to finish the book, just to see what was at the end of it.

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