My Beautiful Hippie
Joanne is a sixteen-year-old girl living in San Francisco during the 1967 “Summer of Love.” Amid preparations for her sister’s wedding, worries about the war in Vietnam, and uncertainty about her own place in the world, she meets Martin, a young, musical hippie with whom she quickly falls into a secret relationship. Joanne is still trying to figure out where she fits in between the easygoing, never-tied-down philosophy of her boyfriend and her conservative roots when her two worlds collide against the devastating background of the violent anti-war demonstrations and the draft. Faced with the choice of following her family or Martin, will she be brave enough to forge her own path and not let go of the good in either?
What I most enjoyed about My Beautiful Hippie is that the perspective Lynch presents of the hippie movement and one teenager’s flirtation with nonconformity is so very sensible. In the wake of many other novels that choose to make one position “the enemy” and the other unquestionably right, this book is refreshingly down-to-earth and reasonable. Joanne rightly sees good and bad in both the hippie lifestyle and the traditional choices of her family, and she realizes that she doesn’t have to choose one over the other. Lynch’s attitude towards teenage relationships is also a breath of fresh air, acknowledging the fact that they are never perfect and hardly ever destined to last forever. My one major complaint about the novel would have to be its occasionally preachy tone about how times were changing in the ´60s and all these “new” things were suddenly popping up; I just don’t think that an actual person from those times would necessarily have such a perspective. Overall, I would highly recommend this novel for those twelve and older.