It's a novel set in Cambridge in 1970, told from the point of view of an eight-year-old girl. Since the girl is narrating, but from the vantage of later adulthood, it raises interesting technical issues, which could interact fruitfully with its (interesting) setting.
I began reading, but quickly smacked up against a real problem, at least for me. The story is full of anachronisms. Jenkins was born in 1967 (the copyright page tells us), and her 1970 Cambridge is replete with events, phrases, and attitudes from the mid- and late eighties. The first example was so egregious (an early reference to a woman going out and "drumming in the woods") that, like a sting from the world's biggest bee, I developed an immediate sensitivity to even minor recurrences.
This alerted me to what I might not otherwise have noticed: that there were no references that were actually specific to the era (a woman who wanted to get away from her family and straighten her head out would find an "Encounter Group," not a drumming circle). Cultural references and allusions that were acceptable to 1970 all proved to be examples that were still in use well into the following decade. The author's specific knowledge of her chosen milieu seemed to be zero.
This really bugs me. The author has a Ph.D.; she has published a previous book of non-fiction. Presumably she knows how to conduct basic research. The book was edited, then copyedited, by people trained to look out for exactly this kind of thing. It comes lavishly praised, presumably not only by people younger than the author.
Do most readers shrug this off, or does it bother others as well?