Book Review: Lucy in the Sky by John Vorhaus

I had the pleasure of taking three writing workshops from John Vorhaus at the recent University of Wisconsin Writers’ Institute (UWWI) in Madison. John is brilliantly funny and taught us much about comedy and voice and how to put them into our writing. As he is fond of saying, “I love the sound of my voice.” and will talk about his expertise for hours if anyone is interested.

After that weekend, I had to see if John could put his money where his mouth is so I bought his newest book. Here’s my review. also published at For those of you interested in learning more about John Vorhaus, check out his website:

A review of Lucy in the Sky by John Vorhaus

Attention all Baby Boomers or BB wannabees: If you want to remember/learn about what really happened in the ‘60s and ‘70s with the Hippie Generation, Lucy in the Sky gives you a riveting, hilarious, honest, insightful look at what most of us teenagers went through during that time.

Vorhaus has captured those feelings impeccably in Gene Steen, his intelligent, good-hearted, restless symbol of teen angst in a stereotypical Midwest suburban household. Gene thinks there is something to this hippie culture, but is not sure what until he experiences the freedom and risks of choosing his own path in life free from parental or societal restraint.

Lucy, Gene’s older teenage “cousin,” represents hippiedom’s beautiful side. She charms Gene and the reader from her first words to her last scene. Smart, beautiful, strong, seemingly in control, Lucy is just as flawed as anyone, but hides it well from Gene. He’s in some kind of love/lust with her, but resists his raging hormones until he discovers that Lucy is not his cousin. Then all bets are off and Gene seizes the day to help Lucy in her quest for that which is missing in her life.

Supporting characters are well-drawn and lend truth to the story. Vorhaus’s pacing is rapid fire and forces you to rip through page after page wanting to know what will happen. I agree with a previous reviewer about the DEPTH of the story. We get deep inside Gene’s head, and he often breaks into streams of consciousness that are authentic enough to make me think I had many of those similar flows in my teen years.

Lucy in the Sky is great fun for those of us who lived the ‘60s as teens and maybe have some regrets about our choices—good or bad. Gene Steen takes that trip for us. If that doesn’t hook you, aren’t you just dying to know what a “wreltney” is?


What good books have you read lately by authors other than those found on the NY Times bestseller list?

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