Wild Child: Girlhoods in the Counterculture - Chelsea Cain
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Girlhoods in the Counterculture -  Chelsea Cain

Written by Chelsea Cain
Format(s): PDF
Language: English

Tofu casseroles, communes, clothing-optional kindergarten, antiwar protests - these are just a few of the hallmarks of a counterculture childhood. What became of kids who had been denied meat, exposed to free love, and given nouns for names? In Wild Child, daughters of the hippie generation speak about the legacy of their childhoods. The writers present a rearview mirror to contemporary culture; with an eye on the past they remind us that there is more than one path through the present. Contributors include Lisa Michaels (Split) and Ariel Gore (Hip Mama).

From Publishers Weekly
Some may consider the hippie counterculture a bust, but the dynamic young women whose personal essays appear in this collection illustrate that it did create a subculture of strong individuals. By turns angry, sentimental and wary, the daughters of this cultural revolution meditate on the impact of their parents' choices. Zappa sets the tone in her energetic but scattered prologue celebrating individual difference. Editor Cain captures the muddy emotional landscape experienced by many girls who "live between two worlds"; her jaded yet clever report on today's Rainbow Gatherings, where folks drink camp coffee but crave cappuccino, is a highlight. In a coarse polemic, Elizabeth Sh? rages against the free love that left her without boundaries: free to do anything "[b]ut not free to say no." Cecily Schmidt gently tries to find her place in the counterculture as she poetically honors her quiet parents, who instilled in her a love of the land and a powerful sense of self. Veggie diets, too much pot and persistent poverty drove many hippies back into the mainstream, although some of their children didn't accompany them. As a group, these voices, which join those of other notable hippie kids, such as Jedidiah Purdy and Lisa Michaels (whose Split: A Counterculture Childhood is excerpted in this volume), are a powerful sign that a change may still be coming. This mixed bag is a worthwhile document from a great, if troubled, experiment.

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