Gary Gautier * CreateSpace * February 3, 2017 * 288 Pages
After running from her neglectful and abusive family, Jazmine has made a new life for herself living in a co-op with a handful of hippie wanderers. It’s 1960-something and she’s still just trying to figure it all out, man. But for the first time in a long while (maybe ever), she’s happy and at peace. As she’s earnestly and innocently finding her way, however, there are certain harsh realities she’s still going to have to face. Most difficult of all will be the realization that some of her free-loving friends aren’t exactly who they say they are. And, unfortunately, their idealistic and (mostly) well-meaning actions will have some serious and lasting consequences.
This isn’t a book I would normally gravitate toward. It’s fiction, yes, but there are a lot of (drug-induced) flashbacks that make the book read almost like fantasy/mystery. I still enjoyed it, though. The storyline is unique and well-developed, and the whole hippie angle is interesting.
Even though there are moments when the discussions between characters go on too long (to the point that I felt preached at), I still could appreciate the balance of cultural perspective. It’s a good mix of “all you need is love” vs. “no justice, no peace.” And the characters do discuss a wide range of interesting cultural topics: war, sex, women’s rights, civil disobedience, drugs, and the list goes on. Even the ending feels balanced. Plus, the story doesn’t end where I expected it to, and that is always refreshing.
Overall, Hippies is a solid, enjoyable story. I think people who came of age in the 60s will especially enjoy it.