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Drop City

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  9,241 Ratings  ·  856 Reviews
T.C. Boyle has proven himself to be a master storyteller who can do just about anything. But even his most ardent admirers may be caught off guard by his ninth novel, for Boyle has delivered something completely unexpected: a serious and richly rewarding character study that is his most accomplished and deeply satisfying work to date.

It is 1970, and a down-at-the-heels C
Hardcover, First Edition, 444 pages
Published February 24th 2003 by Viking Adult (first published 2003)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Eddie Watkins
I'm prone to think less of a book that I can read while in a room with a TV on. Especially if on that TV is Kipper or Harry the Dirty Dog or Babar for the millionth time. But then maybe after a million times it's easier to tune out. And tune out I did, and tuned into Drop City. This was my first T. C. Boyle. For years I thought of him as some Tom Robbins type - a cloying insubstantial stylist - though I had never read even one of his words. This prejudice was based upon an annoying jacket photo, ...more
Jason Pettus
Jul 18, 2007 Jason Pettus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Full essay can be found at the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [].)

(Just like anyone else who is a lover of great books, I find myself sometimes with a desire to become a "completist" of certain authors; that is, to have read every book that author has ever written. This new series of essays chronicles that attempt.)

So first, a confession, that I still have a long way to go before becoming a completist of author TC Boyle; this is only the second novel of his I've re
Mar 14, 2012 Shovelmonkey1 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like tie dyed fur
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: 1001 books list
This book is fuelled by flower power. Sadly I prefer books which are run on rocket fuel so this one did not deliver enough blast for my buck. This is the third TC Boyle book I've read and although I keep meandering back for more, I'm still yet to understand why.

Two tales make up the central thread of Drop City. Like two parallel spinal cords they prop up the floppy central core of the book. The first spine is the flacid, soaked in acid, hippy fuelled hurrah of Drop City. Most of the people resi
MJ Nicholls
Sep 11, 2011 MJ Nicholls rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels, merkins
The collapse of the sixties free love movement is perhaps the greatest defeat Western society has endured. The flower children believed in a world unshackled to government control and white-collar slavery, they believed in an autonomous collective of free love, drugs and sex. By listening to the Doors and smoking hash in Californian tepees, they hoped to bring about a social revolution, to overthrow the squares by doing nothing whatsoever. Then again, they only believed in this because their bou ...more
Apr 09, 2009 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers who like a laugh & a challenge
Recommended to John by: a couple of friends
Already a clear-cut five-star, even before I finish, TC Boyle's ripe and agitated revisit to the hippie extremes of the late '60s offers both a celebration and a slam. DROP CITY is the first novel of his I've tasted in a while; for years I'd sampled only the sharply-cornered ironies, their furniture often surreal, of his magazine fiction. Those always cracked the imaginative whip impressively, and trapezed their way through some breathtaking analogies, but this novel puts both those gifts on dis ...more
Nov 09, 2013 Hanneke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 1001-read
This book is a gas! I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is hilarious and a great adventure story which you wouldn't expect from a bunch of goofy hippies. There are quite a number of books set around 1970 in counterculture milieus that give us the stories of radical political groups, who live in squats in the cities and who are busy planning abductions or bomb attacks for the good of mankind. Such as 'The good terrorist' by Doris Lessing, or 'My Revolutions' by Hari Kunzu. Fine books, but not hilarious i ...more
A 70s hippie commune called Drop City gets driven out of California and decides to try making it in Alaska. Wild and crazy! If you've ever dreamed of homesteading in Alaska, take heed and be prepared!

Some interesting observations about how human nature played a role in destroying their utopian dream:
Though they espoused 'peace and love,' they frequently got into fights--many because, though they said they believed in the concept of 'free love,' jealousy erupted when their current love slept wit
One of my very favorite comic novels, about a commune in 'Redwood City' California, Drop City. They say 'if you remember the sixties, you weren't there...' but Boyle clearly had both been there and remembered.I laughed until tears dripped down my face, remembering those days, both the charm and the not so flattering side of being 'free'--a time when boys browbeat girls into sleeping with them with philosophy and suggesting they were 'uptight,' rather than sweet-talking them. How certain people c ...more
Tikay Hill
Aug 11, 2012 Tikay Hill rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was very dissappointed by T.C. Boyle on this one. A sad depiction of communal living. Having lived in the midst myself, and visited other communes (intentional living places) all I can really say is his rendering is pure hogwash! I believe the man is a pig, he's lazy and lacking in ability to do proper research.

He seemed to find pleasure in making subtle innuendos using the norm of stereotypical stigma(s) in his writing. I found his book ridiculous. The stigma around the counter culture needs
Dec 17, 2012 Andrew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Cats. Also chicks.
Recommended to Andrew by: Lauren Strenger
Drop City is a book, above all else, about adventures. You could say that Drop City is a book about hippies, a surprisingly sober insight into the inner monologues of a gaggle of full-fledged flower children as they celebrate free love under the summer sun of California and in the dead serious beauty of the Alaskan middle-of-nowhere. You could say that Drop City is almost as much about trappers, about a society of hard men and women who live off the grid, driven there by fear or stubbornness or ...more
Apr 16, 2008 Jeffrey rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Drop City? More like Drop - alright I won't go there. Needless to say I was not pleased with this read. T.C. Boyle has apparently won prestigious literary awards. This is the only book I have read by him and it leaves me wondering how this is possible. Drop City is the story of a 20-something girl, nicknamed Star (ugh...), who joins a hippie commune in the early '70s in California that eventually chooses to pick up and move to their leader's uncle's cabin and land in Alaska. The book is simulta ...more
Feb 08, 2012 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
TC Boyle's novel about the Northern California commune hooks you from the start. The carefree lifestyle, readily available drugs, open sexuality and irresponsibility of this motley mix of nature-loving misfits carries a heavy cost. Bills have to be paid. Toilets overflow. Young children are neglected. Freeloaders show up and take without giving. As I read the first part of the book set somewhere around Sonoma I recalled Peter Coyote's autobiographical Sleeping Where I Fall, about his own involve ...more
Ron Charles
Nov 17, 2013 Ron Charles rated it really liked it
The antiwar movement may be sprouting up again, but there's no climate for flower power this time around. The hippies who led America's last great protests against military intervention have been effectively co-opted by Old Navy, their radical message fermented in the stills of Madison Avenue down to an intoxicating syrup of consumerism. If that weren't enough to shoo the merrymakers off, a couple of major literary authors have recently turned the water cannons on them, blasting away their puka ...more
Apr 03, 2007 Conrad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
What to make of this book? It's two parallel stories about the 60s in Alaska. One: a hardy homesteader couple. Two: a bunch of hippies, "persecuted" by the law in Mendocino county, who decide to go back to the land, or at least drive a few thousand miles in a giant school bus and set up camp. No points for guessing which social experiment lasts longer.

It's a sort of unaffectionate look at the pomp and circumstance of the 1960s. I can certainly sympathize with Boyle's derision - it's been a few y
Apr 23, 2016 Bert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We all know the best part about a commune novel is reading about the meals, so i was loving that. And really this was a massively enjoyable read, if a little overly long for my flighty tastes, and it really REALLY captured the everyday struggles and beauty and bullshit of commune living (or what i imagine it was like) and also had a whole lot of survival-in-the-wilderness stuff that gave me pleasure. Ugh, that Ronnie...what a prick huh. Ok then...ladle me up a bowl of that vegetable stew uh huh, ...more
Mar 23, 2009 Joan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For anyone who grew up in “the sixties,” the idea of dropping out of society and the establishment – tune in, turn on, drop out – seemed pretty romantic at the time, -- for a time. Barefoot hippies with granny dresses and flowers in their hair, a constant flow of drugs, free love, living off the land – what’s not to like, except for constantly dirty feet and bad trips, venereal disease, and cleaning up other people’s messes while never having time to yourself or food that seems made under quite ...more
Nothing like a book about a commune to get you through a slow class. Great book, fantastic characters. The book was constantly moving, never was there a moment when I was left waiting for something interesting to happen(alright maybe once or twice, but I have yet to come across a book that has absolutely no stand-still moments). My main interest in this book came through the characters, which I already deemed fantastic. Which they truly are. I recommend to anyone looking for an interesting read.
Jul 25, 2008 Trina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, the-west
I adored this long novel about 70s back-to-the-land hippies in California who move to Alaska and confront not only the weather and wilderness but also the tough, intolerant, self-reliant Alaskan bush dwellers who have an entirely different take on "back-to-the-land." T.C. Boyle is a great writer.
David Gillespie
Apr 13, 2011 David Gillespie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Published in 2003, T. C. Boyle’s Drop City is a post mortem of early 70’s commune living. The story begins in 1970 in Northern California, as commune leader Norm Sender deals with keeping the commune running as the majority of his residents are only interested in the abundant sex, drugs, and food, with only a few true believers contributing to Sender’s mission. Eventually, due to both police harassment and some disturbing incidents in the commune, Sender pulls up stakes and moves the commune to ...more
Ian Mapp
Jun 19, 2012 Ian Mapp rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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Nov 30, 2008 Tara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book made me homesick for Santa Rosa. The story is about a hippie commune built just outside the city limits on the principal of "Land Access To Which Is Denied No One" [oft referred to in the story by the cumbersome acronym LATWIDNO] by the callow but good-hearted nephew who inherits a large tract of land. The commune members are eventually evicted from the county on the grounds of all sorts of fire codes, condemned buildings, and that everyone was too high to make a real latrine trench. & ...more
Feb 16, 2010 Spike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If this were written by anyone but TC Boyle, I would've given it four stars, however I've come to expect better from Boyle. The basic plot is not overly complex. A hippy commune--Drop City--is chased out of California and decides to reincarnate in Alaska as "Drop City North". Overall, TC does a good job of bringing down the microscope on the whole hippy culture, the good and the bad. There are the innocents, idealistic dreamers, and the hustlers and layabouts who run their game under the guise o ...more
Jun 11, 2013 J.C. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
This book had caught me somewhat by surprise. Not in a good or bad way, rather just simply a way I did not anticipate the story going. The plot moves in a static style, jumping forward here and there and sometimes skipping scenes you would assume would be there. Which is okay, no complaints here, its just not the way I would have envisioned the story going, I guess. But I like surprises, so that works out just fine.

I have read T.C. before, his anthologized short story "Greasy Lake" (which I LOV
Bonnie Jeanne
I read T.C. Boyle's, Tortilla Curtain, which I did enjoy, though not love. Having now read two of his books, I think I might retire this author to my "Only If There Is Nothing Else To Read" list. Not that I didn't like this story, I did, but I don't think I could take another tale of good and evil and how easy it is to confuse the two. [return][return]One of the annoying things in this book is the author's tendency to use the given and hippie names of the Drop City residents interchangeably. I w ...more
Frederick Bingham
Jan 01, 2012 Frederick Bingham rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is the story of Drop City, a commune founded in northern California in the late 60's. There are about 30 hippies who take up residence in this community of free love, endless parties, drugs and dancing. The book follows three of the residents closely. Star and Ronnie (aka Pan) arrived together from Peterskill, New York. Marco came from southern California. Marco and Star start sleeping together and end up as a couple for most of the book, though this is a situation that changes from time to ...more
Sep 17, 2010 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This 444 page novel, a gift from Ms. Shortridge, took me at least a year to read, while making way for textbooks, and curriculum reading, and other novels in between. But reading TC Boyle is like sucking on candy whilst reading. His style is so visual - each character's movement is completely fleshed out - but not in a Dickens this-took-three-pages-to-pour-tea-way, but a well thought out tasty economy of words. And the subject matter was highly interesting to me as a hardy Sourdough of an Alaska ...more
Feb 16, 2016 Meg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is probably my most favorite book I have read in a long time. I am now a true bona fide TC Boyle fan. I really want to go to Alaska now! (Which is kind of funny because I have a reoccurring dream that I am on a train to Alaska… ) But anyway, this book was so well done, well researched, fun to read and I loved all of the characters, for better or worse. I love the subtle humor in this book and how it shows people's flaws and strengths and how all came to be so apparent in Alaska's rugged int ...more
Yelena Malcolm
Drop City was a solid read. Tracing the journeys of members of a commune and the lives of those native Alaskans they encounter, the novel is both social commentary and strong narrative. Evocative both of communal living and the pioneering lifestyle, the prose was fluid.

More interesting, though, was the decidedly apolitical view of both lifestyles whch are outside the status quo. While pointing out the limitations of homesteading and relative anarchy, one never felt the author was lauding one cho
Sarah Pascarella
Oct 11, 2009 Sarah Pascarella rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
T.C. Boyle is just so much fun to read. In Drop City, he takes on the 60's counterculture and their movement to "tune in, turn on, and drop out" and contrasts it directly with the self-sufficiency of those living off the grid in Alaska. He primarily depicts the hippies as naive, their chemical-induced optimism as somewhat self-serving and childlike (although he does seem to have genuine affection for a handful of the commune members: e.g., Star, Marco). His Alaskans, on the other hand, are the r ...more
Chris Carrel
Aug 22, 2009 Chris Carrel rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed every page of TC Boyle's novel about a hippie commune in (first) northern California and (then amazingly) the wilds of Alaska in the early 1970s. Boyle offers a realistic, unflinching and at times uncomfortable look at the difficulties of sustaining a communal society, particularly when spiced with copious amounts of drugs, free love and shallow thinking. The narrative journey, though, is hugely satisfying and believable, while being a breeze to read. The characters are full ...more
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T. Coraghessan Boyle (also known as T.C. Boyle, born Thomas John Boyle on December 2, 1948) is a U.S. novelist and short story writer. Since the late 1970s, he has published eleven novels and more than 60 short stories. He won the PEN/Faulkner award in 1988 for his third novel, World's End, which recounts 300 years in upstate New York. He is married with three children. Boyle has been a Distinguis ...more
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“Who was she in high school? Little Miss Nobody. She could have embroidered it on her sweaters, tattooed it across her forehead. And in small letters: i am shit, i am anonymous, step on me. please. She wasn't voted Most Humorous in her high school yearbook or Best Dancer or Most Likely to Succeed, and she wasn't in the band or Spanish Club and when her ten year reunion rolled around nobody would recognize her or have a single memory to share.” 8 likes
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