4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Carol Schlanger might very well be the most reluctant hippie to move into a commune. Born a New York Jew, she loved cities and all of the luxuries that appeared at her fingertips. Having been kicked out of Yale Drama School in 1970, Carol took up with a handsome Texan architect named Clint who, like her, embraced many of the radical ideas that were so prevalent on campuses across the nation; Black Panthers, the Weathermen, and protests against the Vietnam War were the backdrop to their generation. Hippie Woman Wild details Carol and Clint’s escape from a society that seemed hellbent on oppressing free thinkers and sending young men to die in a pointless war.
Disgusted with city living, Clint packed up his few belongings and moved from New York City to rural Oregon. Carol vacillated between being a strong feminist and following her man. Love or horniness finally won out and she made the leap to temporarily abandon her fledgling acting career. She wasn’t prepared for the level of communal living and lack of privacy that greeted her, and she eventually put together the money to buy her own rustic piece of land. All her cajoling at the Bank of Mom and Dad seemed for naught when she discovered that Clint invited everyone that they were living with to join them on the new property.
Schlanger tells her story in this slightly embellished autobiography with an astounding degree of honest self-reflection and perfectly timed humor. She candidly introduces the reader to her beautifully flawed twentysomething self and provides an amazing take on an era that my generation usually just associates with tie-dye, Woodstock, and the Grateful Dead. She not only got herself back to the garden, Carol eschewed most modern conveniences and learned exactly why humans formed tribes to live off the land together.
Carol’s inner monologue does not hide her flaws or her contradicting feelings about what she is doing and who she is doing it with. Hippie Woman Wild is not all flower children and butterflies; this is an honest reflection on what happens when an entire generation becomes disenfranchised with the direction their country is heading. Present-day America is experiencing an echo of this as younger people are again gravitating towards homesteading and off the grid lifestyles. This impeccably edited book is perfect to help younger generations gain a better understanding of the commune movement in the seventies. It will also appeal to people who lived through those years and have similar experiences. Anyone who is uptight about sex or drug use should avoid this book, but they will be missing out on a great read.
I grew up relishing my mother’s outrageous stories of her hippie days in 1970s San Francisco. As I grew older, her tales evolved from the benign act of painting fake shoes on her feet because her only pair fell apart to her trips on Windowpane and constant communion with marijuana. Hippie Woman Wild shows an even more adventurous side of my mother’s generation that I am so grateful to have read about. I can honestly not pinpoint a single negative thing about this spectacular book. I happily rate it 4 out of 4 stars and will be buying a copy for the retired hippy woman in my life. To quote Carol Schlanger, “May your life be long, your country sane, and your tomatoes fat and juicy.”
Hippie Woman Wild
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon