For fans of The Glass Castle and Educated, comes mystery author Toby Neal's personal story of surviving a wild childhood in paradise.
Born in 1965 to hippie surfer parents who just want to ride waves, use substances, and hide from society, red-headed Toby grows up as one of only a few hundred Caucasian "haole" people on the rugged, beautiful North Shore of Kauai, Hawaii.
"I wish I could turn time into honey, and watch it drip by." Told from the immersive, first-person view of a child experiencing turbulent times as they occur, Freckled will take you on a journey you won't soon forget as Toby catches an octopus with her bare hands to feed the family, careens on her first bike down a rugged dirt trail deep in the jungle, and makes money by selling magic mushrooms to a drug dealer. Living in tents and off the land without electricity or communication with the outside world, Toby escapes into reading to deal with racial harassment and indifferent parenting.
Toby's idealistic parents, breaking away from high achieving families, struggle with mental health and addiction issues as they try to live according to their own rules. Despite the hardship and deprivations of life on Kauai, they return again and again to an island whose hold on them is more powerful than any drug, as sensitive and resilient Toby clings to a dream of academic achievement and a "normal" life.
"An affecting and riveting chronicle of a singular childhood that evokes the contradictions of hippie utopian ideals in an unspoiled Hawaiian landscape long since lost." ~Kirkus Reviews
"A celebration of the best within each of us as well as a witness of human frailty and resilience, T.W. Neal's memoir is a must-read!" ~Lehua Parker, author of One Boy, No Water
"As much a meditation on inner strength as it is on family dynamics, TW Neal's gorgeous memoir Freckled isn't one to be missed. I read it two great gulps, and I can still see the palm fronds swaying above a girl who wouldn't give up. Highly recommended." - Rachael Herron, author of Fast-Draft Your Memoir: Write Your Life Story in 45 Hours