REVISED EDITION 2013
More than half a century ago, trying to find his way out of the chaos of a dysfunctional family that suffers from a dark secret, eighteen-year-old Jimmy Whistler joins the Marines and is sent to Hawaii, not yet a state, where he meets a fifteen-year-old girl, Leilani Kona, who turns out to be the love of his life, his own “Sweet Leilani;" but, due to her age and his sense of honor, their love remains unconsummated. Later, shipped back to the mainland and discharged from the Marine Corps, Jimmy makes a false start in New York City as an actor, falling in with a show business crowd, and, still later, with a band of hippies, all the while trying to perfect his true calling as a writer who is attempting to discover order in a chaos that now appears to be not merely personal but public. How Jimmy and Leilani find each other again in the midst of this private and public chaos is a story both comic and tragic.
A Portable Chaos is an historical novel that brings to life the transformation of the United States from the conforming Fifties to the volcanic social eruptions of the “swinging” Sixties—from the private chaos of Jimmy Whistler’s childhood to the public chaos of his youth, the former shaping himself, the latter shaping all Americans.