Please help me welcome Dodie to the blog today. Giveaway information is at the end of the post. Review is right above the giveaway.
How real is the book?
By Dodie Katague
About the Author:
Dodie Katague lived at Cloyne Court Co-op, while attending the University of California, Berkeley during the late 1970’s. Despite the antics he wrote about in his novel, most of which are true, he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in 1981 and went on to become a lawyer. He lives with his wife and children in Walnut Creek, California.
Berkeley College Life at Cloyne Court
My college days were very unique. During the late 1970’s, while attending the University of California, Berkeley, I lived one block north of the campus in a student-run, private cooperative called Cloyne Court.
The “Clones”(as we called ourselves) who lived there were required to do a five-hour weekly workshift to maintain the place (which explained the shabby and sometimes unsanitary condition of the house). The students ran the place, voted on policies by consensus at the weekly meetings, and allocated our discretionary housing fees with political earnest but total disregard to the business side of feeding and maintaining a house of 151 people. Should we buy food this month or restock the vending machines with doobies? Should we fix the locks on the front door to keep the homeless out or should we buy a ten-person hot tub and sauna?
Because I was a freshman both to college and adult life, I did not question the way things were. I didn’t question the dozen or so marijuana plants growing in pails on the backyard balcony porch. I didn’t question the co-ed shower room where men and women showered side by side in a communal space. I thought this was part of the regular college experience. I was at Berkeley, and everything was tolerated to excess.
Many college campuses around the country are known for their crazy naked streaking events. But our house pushed it to the limit. We had political nudists who were naked all the time, including at meals. They advocated going to class in the buff and some even did so.
While political activism and freedom of speech is the norm at all universities, our house residents were allowed to spray paint graffiti on the walls and after a specified period of time, the house would vote on which graffiti or slogans to preserve in perpetuity. Some I remember: “THERE IS NO GRAVITY. THE EARTH SUCKS” and “EXPERIENCE LIFE THROUGH DRUG-INDUCED CLARITY.”
I knew that where I was living and what I was experiencing was out of the ordinary even for other Berkeley students who lived at the dorms, apartments or fraternities/sororities. So I kept a journal of the daily mundane things I did and the absolutely insane things that happened. And many of those stories are the basis for the novel.
Reading through the journal twenty-five years later, I wrote about the same issues all college students go through, though at the time I thought I was the only one that had these problems. Why did the other men in the house have several girlfriends over a school year and nobody was interested in me? What was wrong with me? Would taking an art history class make or break my chances for graduate school? Should I take an English course or Rhetoric Class?
What struck me most in my writing was how unhappy and stressed I was most of the time. But there were moments of personal joy. Like walking back alone from the undergraduate library at closing time in the cold night air and seeing the Golden Gate Bridge from afar or holding hands with my college girlfriend on the Campanile green at noon while walking to class, elbowing past thousands of other students and feeling that she and I were the only people in the world that mattered. Those memories still send an emotional rush through my synapses.
I recall writing about annoyances that I did nothing or could do nothing about. There was a Teaching assistant in Math, who spoke English with such a heavy accent; I had no idea what he was saying. Or I wrote about how I was one in a crowd of 500 students in a lecture hall and as obvious as a speck of dust in the universe, but when I needed to leave quietly to make my next class across campus, all eyes were focused on me.
My novel, Cloyne Court is a coming of age book. It takes the true stories I experienced living in this wild, counter-culture, youthful house and weaves it into a story of love, life, regrets, first encounters and nostalgia. I hope that after reading it, readers will come to the same conclusion that I discovered: that your college years are the best years of your life.
Talk about your life in an animal house. It is amazing how well you get a long with a group of guys when you are around them for a length of time. You got it all, drugs, rock-n-roll, sex and more. It’s no wonder that Derek graduates with less than honors. The fun he had along the way was priceless. Back in those days we might all have done the same thing. I enjoyed the read and lets you see what really went on back in the day. You will laugh, reminiscence, might be shocked at some things, but it’s all good.
Giveaway: Ends 11-9-11
The book is available for giveaway in paper and ebook. If the winner is from the U.S. or Canada, you have the choice of paper or ebook. If the winner is International, you will receive the ebook. For the ebook, Dodie will be sending the ebook winners a free coupon code for Smashwords.com
Just leave a comment or question for Dodie and you are entered.