Hippie Boy: A Girl's Story - Ingrid Ricks
Goodbye, Earl. As I read this book, I couldn't stop thinking about the Dixie Chicks' song with this title. It was so fitting given the description of the character Earl in this story.

I've tried for days to write a coherent review, but have found it impossible. So if I seem to ramble incoherntly, please forgive me. It's just that this story provoked so many emotions as I read (mainly anger and outrage) that I really cannot think straight.

I bought Hippie Boy thinking I was getting a novel, and it was only after I started reading that I realized I had purchased a memoir. As this is not the first time this has happened to me, I figure I need to pay more attention when I download books onto my Kindle. No matter, though. I still enjoyed the ride.

Hippie Boy: A Girl's Story is what happens when parents let religious zeal interfere with their ability to make sound decisions and protect and care for those most precious to them. In this particular instance, the offending religion was Mormon, but having been raised Catholic myself, I can easily see the same situation occurring in a blindly devout Catholic household, or really, pretty much any religion.

Ingrid was the second oldest of five children, all of whom were subjected to years of emotional abuse at the hands of their stepfather (the above-mentioned Earl), and their mother allowed it because to do otherwise would be to dishonor her husband, the head of the family (which by the way, the older girls never accepted him as the head of the family because he was not their father - good for them!).

The older I get, the more amazed I am at how sexist religion can be (and I am not solely piling on the Mormon faith here, I am speaking from experience as a Catholic and observations of other religions). If your new husband is an ass to your children, then you need to take him out with the trash. Or if your children get such a bad vibe off him that they BEG you not to marry him, perhaps you should listen to them and keep looking for a better man, or better yet, shake off the antiquated thinking that only a man can head a household so you won't feel compelled to settle for the first thing to come along.

Anyway, back to Ingrid. She and her older sister carried on a silent rebellion while they anxiously waited until they were old enough to leave home. Somehow, despite the trauma she endured during her formative years, Ms. Ricks seems to have turned out okay, which is a testament to the resiliency of the human spirit.

Okay, the incorent rambling is over. Despite (or perhaps because of) my emotionsl repsonse to this book, I do recommend it. The writing style, while not as smooth or engaging as I prefer when I read fiction, is adequate for telling the story.