a family's journey through 1960s Berkeley
A city in chaos. A family, each maneuvering through a labyrinth at a time when the United States was propelled into the sphere of real change.
When the Raysons leave D.C. for the gathering anarchy of Berkeley, each embraces the moment in a hippie paradise that’s fast becoming a cultural ground zero. As People’s Park fades away in a tear gas fog, young Alice feels an ambiguous freedom in the 1960s counterculture. She must find her way through a new world where street signs hang backward and there’s a bootleg candy called Orange Sunshine.
“Playground Zero is an exceptional piece of literary fiction that puts Sarah Relyea in a league of her own. The characters are unique and authentic to the era and geography.” — Readers’ Favorite (5-star review)
“This intense retrospective on people yanked out of the strait-laced Fifties and tossed into a culture of anything goes will appeal to readers wanting to learn more about Berkeley’s days of rage.” — G. J. Berger, Historical Novel Society
“An eerily compelling déjà vu of the free, wild, and jeopardy-ridden kid scene in late-1960s Berkeley. Uncanny and powerful.” — Charles Degelman, Editor, Harvard Square Editions
“The characters were raw and complex.” — Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews