From the Summer of Love to the Valley of the Moon


Non-Fiction - Autobiography
177 Pages
Reviewed on 10/22/2021
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite

From the Summer of Love to the Valley of the Moon by Nancy J Martin is a non-fiction memoir that chronicles the life of Martin as she navigates through the San Francisco Bay Area in the late 1960s and the transition to adulthood into the early 2000s. After a crash course as an independent, free-wheeling teenager, Martin is married and has dropped out of college before the age of 20. It doesn’t last long, and Martin takes up a nomadic existence that includes clothing-optional and communal living, Renaissance fairs, and an “I’m with the band” way of life that results in a new life itself: her daughter, Aura. Her love life continues to evolve, and she becomes the wife of a vintner, now at the helm of a winemaking operation that sits at the crux of legions of famous California labels. Medical issues, a surgery that results in facial palsy, divorce, a fractured relationship with Aura, physical and mental health issues of her newer husband Joe, abuse, and the impact all of this have factored into the story as she reflects on a tumultuous life.

I was initially drawn to From the Summer of Love to the Valley of the Moon because my wife is a San Francisco native, and while her own stories are as a Lowell High School graduate, the granddaughter of an Oakland Fire Captain and a Sebastopol winemaking family herself, I was curious to see the same areas in different decades through the eyes of Nancy J Martin. The only similarity is in the location, and it soon became apparent that Martin’s life, while still one of remarkable personal agency, was built from sheer grit, creativity, a prodigious degree of street smarts, and, sadly, a great deal of pain. As a father, the most heartbreaking to me was the breakdown of her relationship with Aura. As a partner, I was empathetic to a relationship filled with highs and lows and enraged by abuse. As a former social worker, I was heartened by her dedication to righting wrongs with regard to mental health and a total lack of accountability for failures in the “treatment” of both body and mind. Martin’s spirit shines through here with an extraordinary ability to meditate through multiple storms that push this memoir into the must-read category. Very highly recommended.