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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
Commune: A Social Experiment by Java Davis is the story of an apple commune owned by Maureen Doyle – Momo to her friends and family. After her successful years at Wharton School of Business, Momo won the lottery and bought an apple farm. She envisioned a successful apple commune with workers who could move in for room and board. What she didn’t expect is how expensive and laborious it is, and the contradictory group of wanderers who end up there aren’t really anyone’s ideal workers.
Davis’s writing style is undemanding and this contributes to the story’s fast pace. There’s not much dialogue in Commune, particularly in the beginning chapters, and some readers might find this somewhat off putting. However, I feel that the existing dialogue is enough and the straightforward narrative sufficiently compensates this part. The story and the ensemble of characters are the ones that hold the complexities of the story; dedication, love, honesty, pessimism, faithlessness, indolence. The emotional roller-coaster keeps Commune buzzing with depressing yet funny situations at the same time.
My sympathy largely goes to Momo. All her hard work seems unrewarded for the most part. Her determination to keep the apple business going is admirable, but her naivety is a major hurdle. Having an unhappy professional chef, a pair of pot-growing/selling twins, a musician and his girlfriend, an insomniac, and other undesirable characters definitely does not guarantee a successful commune. My only peeve is that some characters have better karmas than the ones that really deserve it. Overall, this is a quick and quirky read.