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John-Paul Cernak
The Odyssey of a Hippie Marijuana Grower
A historic look at the hippie era, and how the election of Ronald Reagan ended an epic cultural age. Jack never felt free until he lived in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury. But his freedom was in peril. The 1960s were over, and an era was closing. When the door slammed shut, there was no exit. Most of his friends cut their hair and took straight jobs in a world becoming more corporate and increasingly structured. It was a fate worse than death. But he wasn’t ready to capitulate. There might be another way. For as long as he could remember, he wanted to live in the country. Now divorced, everyone he asked looked at him as if he was crazy. Under strange circumstances, he met a young chick who agreed to be his partner in his new pastoral life but throughout, received psychic warning that to be with her would lead to disaster. In a valley deep in the Cascade Mountains of Southern Oregon, they lived in a barn and grew marijuana. Jack always believed farming was risky, especially growing an illegal crop with dangers lurking in the shadows. While hitchhiking across country, he experienced a past life and learned he was an Indian and lived on the plains. Throughout, he sensed there was a connection between his new companion and his Native American life only time and tribulation would reveal.
Plot/Idea: 7 out of 10
Originality: 6 out of 10
Prose: 7 out of 10
Character/Execution: 6 out of 10
Overall: 6.50 out of 10


Plot/Idea: This unusual memoir reads like a well-crafted novel, though readers may wish for more historical context to round out the author's story.

Prose: The casual tone fits the memoir's theme, though the prose could be tightened in places. The author makes the most of rich descriptions, giving the different scenes a vibrant and realistic feel.  

Originality: The author adds depth to the conventional going-against-the-grain theme with his vivid portrayals of an exceptionally unique life.

Character/Execution: Some characters lack depth and play a more superficial role in the author's life, but the book's lavish descriptions make up for the shortage of finely-tuned characterizations.  


Date Submitted: January 31, 2023