Hippie Chick

Coming of Age in the '60s

Non-Fiction - Historical
345 Pages
Reviewed on 09/03/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Hippie Chick: Coming of Age in the ‘60s is a work of non-fiction in the style of a memoir, penned by author Ilene English. Recommended for adult readers due to some mature content, this enlightening and empowering memoir tells the tale of the author’s life as a young woman through having a daughter of her own. Themes such as challenging the perception of what women are capable of and women’s emancipation come up often during this narrative, as well as the author’s personal experiences of caring for her seriously ill mother and dealing with the stresses of being a solo parent. What results is a truly heroic tale of triumph against all the pitfalls which life can throw at us along its tenuous path.

Author Ilene English has much wisdom to deliver to her readers during the story of her younger life and her development as a woman. The issues of grief and personal tragedy of which she speaks are tenderly narrated and given all the attention that they deserve, which will certainly resonate with other readers who have experienced similar shocking moments of loss in their youth. The hazy days of San Francisco are beautifully recalled with all the glory and nostalgia one would expect from the book’s title, but English is never without a keen eye on the present and a reflective sense of what it means to be a woman both today and in the context of the past. Overall, Hippie Chick is a highly recommended and eye-opening read for women from all walks of life.

Mamta Madhavan

Hippie Chick: Coming of Age in the '60s by Ilene English chronicles the author's life beginning from when she was sixteen when her mother died. She was a rebel and she disliked her mother's old-fashioned thinking and she felt her mother's death set her free. Her mother had a bad heart and fought with Ilene's father the day she died. Ilene felt sad she could not tell her mother her big secret of dating Sal, an Italian boy. Her father was unable to control his temper tantrums and Ilene always looked to her big sister for comfort. Carole knew there was no big reason for Ilene to stay at home once their mother was gone. Her move to San Francisco in the summer of '63 exposed her to a new world of jazz, rock 'n roll, sexual freedom, and drugs.

Hippie Chick: Coming of Age in the '60s by Ilene English is a story of courage, fortitude, determination, trials and tribulations, mistakes, losses, along with sex and drugs - and survival after being in the hippie scene in San Francisco. The author is honest and straightforward when she speaks about her life and her experiences, making readers see her transformation into a hippie chick who was on LSD and marijuana occasionally. It also gives readers insights into how a young woman went on a wild adventure and how she got over that lifestyle and ended up having a career as a psychotherapist. Ilene English brings the era of the '60s alive for readers in an engaging way. The void left in her life after her mother's death, her phase as a rebellious teenager, her experimenting with drugs, her relationships, and New Age spiritualism make her memoir interesting.

Astrid Iustulin

Hippie Chick recalls the events in Ilene English’s life between the Sixties and Eighties – the most incredible decades of the last century. Born into a Jewish family, English grew up in New Jersey. After her mother’s death, she moved to California, where one of her elder sisters lived. There, English had to deal with overwhelming situations that she was not ready to handle. Even after she finally met a man who loved her and married him, things did not go well. Despite all the hindrances, English wanted to improve her self-esteem, but it was not easy to achieve her goal.

If you know what the words “honest account” mean, you already have a good idea of what Hippie Chick is like. Nonetheless, I am sure Ilene English’s sincerity will strike you as much as it struck me. This skilled, engaging author describes a variety of situations and presents with clarity the freedom and problems of the Sixties and Seventies. English is candid about the events in her life and describes her difficult journey without hiding anything. She talks about drugs, boyfriends, and abortion in a clear and direct way. Even though she was on the wrong track, she demonstrates that you can learn self-esteem. I hope that Hippie Chick will inspire women to go through their lives with courage. English’s story tells them that they must never give up, no matter how difficult things are. This advice is one of the most precious gems anyone can give you, and it is what makes this book so valuable.