The Ash Family: 10/30/20
The Ash Family by Molly Dektar is set in the present but reads like something from the late 1960s to mid 1970s, save for the occasional inclusion of cellphones. Nineteen year old Bernie is on a bus to college, a school she doesn't want to attend. On the way she meets a man who promises her a life and a family she feels like she hasn't had yet.
To join the Ash family she has to give up her name and her ties to her old life. She has wandered into a cult promising free love and and freedom. But really it's an abusive, dangerous situation, one where dissenters end up dead.
There really isn't anything new here. Bernie cum Harmony narrates the entire thing with a dispassionate monotone. Her life before was bad. Her life on the farm is worse. But no where does she seem to come out of her depressive fog to take a hold of her life.
Bernie's journey such as it is, places the narrative on the road narrative spectrum. Bernie goes through her journey with no sense of agency, and gives up what little agency she had to join the Ash Family. Thus she's a marginalized traveler (66). The location of the cult is a rural (33) one — an old farm they are squatting on. Her route there, first via bus and then truck to the farm, is the Blue Highway (33). In other words, Bernie's story is one of a marginalized traveler going to a rural area via the Blue Highway (663333).