Ingrid Ricks lives with her mother and “[yearns] to escape the poverty and the suffocating brand of Mormon religion that oppressed her at home.” This is a huge understatement of Ingrid’s life and I was emotionally distressed to find that Hippie Boy was a memoir.
Ingrid’s mother is so desperate to find a husband that she refuses to listen to or believe things that her children tell her. She is one of the many women who fall for the “but I’ve changed” line from con-men and abusers. Ingrid finds herself with a new step-father who is cruel and tyrannical and her mother does exactly as he tells her she should do. Ingrid’s only saving grace is the time she gets to spend with her father, whom she worships and believes to represent freedom and a better life.
Hippie Boy demonstrates just how awful life can treat you and how no matter how much you love and want someone to be perfect they usually fall very far from the mark. The story also shows you exactly how dysfunctional a family can be and that religion can sometimes not be a saving grace, but instead a borderline torture.
If you can read this book without shedding a tear for Ingrid, I salute you. Hippie Boy was so emotionally charged that I felt as if I were riding a lightning bolt and am sure that I was just as pained and disappointed as Ingrid when some of the situations befell her.
Hippie Boy would have been a much easier read had it been fiction as opposed to a memoir, although the story is everything one looks for in a book–love and happiness, despair and sadness, adventure and feelings of being trapped. I don’t believe there wasn’t an emotion that I didn’t feel and I only wish that I could know what happened after the book wrapped up.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Berkley. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.