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Wild Child: Girlhoods in the Counterculture

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  301 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
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 t ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published November 16th 1999 by Seal Press (first published October 26th 1999)
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Mar 07, 2008 Amanda rated it liked it
Recommended to Amanda by: National Public Radio
Shelves: non-fiction
Short essays by women whose parents were hippies in the groovy days of free love and moving back to the land or onto the commune. Liked the book but found many of the stories bittersweet and a couple downright painful. Some of the parents, in their enthusiam for tuning out, turning on and grooving to their own beat, abdicated their responsibilities as adults and parents. Getting high, making groat muffins and exploring love with many partners wasn't always compatible with raising children safely ...more
Jul 22, 2009 Jyoti rated it really liked it
Shelves: recommended
This is a great anthology for any woman who was a child of the '60's/70's counterculture. I have always felt that I was extremely lucky, yet equally cursed, to have such 'out-there' parents growing up. I felt like such an outsider, but now appreciate more the perspective on life growing up outside the norm gave me. This anthology articulated those same tensions. Reflective, introspective, funny, touching and with a certain sense of pride at being brought up by hippies, these narratives helped me ...more
Nov 18, 2010 Katherine rated it liked it
A short quick read, I liked this book. What's it like to have hippie parents, to grow up with extreme permissiveness (is that an oxymoron?)? In the pieces in this edited collection, the answer seems to depend on the parents and the child--sometimes it's wonderful to be so free, sometimes it's crippling to have nothing to rebel against. I liked reading the details about what it was really like back then (most of the women contributors are about my age, born in the early 70s): having no running wa ...more
Jul 29, 2009 Melanie rated it it was amazing
I read this book in a very short time, enthralled with all the differing monologues which ultimately spoke of the unifying themes surrounding adult women reared in an environment without boundaries. It's interesting to see how these girls responded. Either they themselves still live today with the inability to exert some sense of control over their lives/choices or there ends up being *too* much restriction and thus stifling any even normal experiences these girls so deserve. I appreciated this ...more
Mar 15, 2014 Daisy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Oopsie. Had a brain lapse yesterday and wrote a review of Cain's first book under this entry. This is also a favorite (it is, I swear) as it is a great escape read. One copy available on Gutenberg's books.
Starr Phoenix
Dec 17, 2009 Starr Phoenix rated it it was amazing
I could not love this book more, being a hippy kid myself. Talk about reading something that made me feel NORMAL! lol. And if you weren't raised on sprouts and tempeh, read it anyway bc it's funny and interesting and you'll learn something. :)
Sep 03, 2008 Laurel-Rain rated it it was amazing
Nothing captures the spirit of a social movement more than stories told in the voices of those who were there. And in these essays from "girlhoods in the counterculture," we can visualize what it was like and hear the songs and the beat of this unique subculture.

With a foreword by Moon Zappa and essays from various daughters of the "hippie" movement, such as Chelsea Cain, Rain Grimes, Diane B. Sigman, River Light, and others...we can almost experience their lives along with them.

In the case of C
Loved Loved Loved Loved Loved this book!!!!!! I will always remember this book the rest of my life. I have always been interested in the 60's 70's life and hippies and communes and that whole culture. I found the further I read how actually my childhood was somewhat relatable even though I was born in the early 80's and grew up in the 90's. I think it has to do with being born to a father who was in his 20's and 30's during the 60's and 70's and a mother who was a teenager and lived most of her ...more
Nov 13, 2014 Kim rated it really liked it
Although I would never describe my parents as "hippies" there were many aspects of this book that reminded me of my childhood. Mainly things like moving around a lot as a child, living in houses in rural settings, the woods around us being an important part of my childhood. Watching the video of Woodstock when I was 11 with my Dad and being thoroughly enchanted with that time and place. Being turned on to classic rock as a child. To this day, The Beatles and Led Zeppelin are some of my favorites ...more
May 01, 2008 Misti rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, memoirs
I picked this book at random from a shelf on the library, and overall, I wasn't disappointed.

A nice selection of essays from the daughters of women who grew up defying expectations. These girls have been lonely, lost, without boundaries, and the majority of essays have a strong focus on how they wish there had been more boundaries in their lives, or particularly poignant memories. This book provides some nice insight into the unstable foundations of these women's lives. Overall, a lot of interes
Aug 20, 2010 Darcy rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2010, non-fiction
I don't think I have ever been so grateful for my normal boring parents as I was while reading this book. I was born too late for the "hippie" era, but I can see the appeal of it. The freeness of the community, the getting away from all the conformity, and being yourself, but there are dark sides to this and this book points out so many of them. While I am ok with adults making choices like this, whether they are good or bad, children for the most part have no place in it. Yes, there are good as ...more
Diana H.
Aug 15, 2014 Diana H. rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Cain, herself a child of hippie-parents, edited this book. The views of her fellow hippie-children (in this case only girls were included) tell the story of their childhood. These women had vastly differing upbringings, but the one thing the seem to all agree on is that while it wasn't all good, it wasn't all bad either.
Life is what it is. For these former hippie-children, it seems that they have made something of their lives that draws from their childhood experiences and still allows them to b
Mar 20, 2010 Melody rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like all collections, this one was a little spotty. On balance I adored it and the way it evoked my childhood, at least in parts. I thought Cain's piece was great, it was my favorite. Her name on the cover is what led me to pick the book up.

I enjoyed seeing how these women, most of 'em born within 10 years of me, felt about their childhoods from the perspective of grown women. I'd like to see a follow-up, as this came out in 1999.

Elizabeth Ruth
May 31, 2013 Elizabeth Ruth rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this quick group of mostly well written essays on growing up female in the counterculture. Since my parents are, well, not the counterculture. I related most to the essay about the fascinating hippie neighbors. Kind of a wish-fulfillment read for me-- what if my parents were hippies-- but also a good reminder that your childhood can screw you up and inspire you pretty much no matter what, that it is always a mixed bag whether dinner is tofu or pot roast.
Sep 25, 2009 Jill rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I picked this up because I wanted to get a better idea of who the people were who I had lived with in Mendocino - their backgrounds and culture. To this end, it did its job. The stories were both familiar and new, and were well chosen by the editor for their range of voice and subject. It's not one I would buy, but makes a great library book.
Jul 09, 2008 Staci rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. Although I was not raised by hippies or in the counterculture, I could still relate to the girlhoods in this book. It was fun, moving and challenges the idealistic views I have had about that era. It was also cool to see the bios of the contributors in the back of the book and compare them to the childhoods they revealed to the reader.
May 26, 2011 Jennifer rated it liked it
So far, interesting - I always wonder how children fare in different situations, what are the lasting consequences. Are the author's lives the result of their childhoods? Aren't we all influenced by our upbringing and the lessons learned therein? ? It's always entertaining to illustrate nature vs. Nurture.
Sheela Word
Jan 11, 2014 Sheela Word rated it really liked it
Interesting set of essays/poems/letters by various young writers who had some degree of participation in the 1960's-70's counterculture movement when they were children. Writers discuss the values (nature, truthfulness, freedom, self-sufficiency) and horrors (abandonment, disease, danger, drug addiction) of the communal lifestyles they experienced.
Clover  Youngblood
Jan 10, 2012 Clover Youngblood rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: People with hippie parents
I had high expectations for this book, as I love counterculture, but what I expected wasn't what it cracked up to be. This book is more of a memoir for women who grew up with hippie parents, and not curious suburbian teenage girls. I wanted this book to come from a historical point of view. No such luck in that department, but some of the stories were decent, anyways.
Nov 28, 2011 Sophia rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: sociology/psych students, hippies, fans of the '60/70s, feminists, girls
A lovely collection of counterculture snapshots. Each writer's story gives a witty, intelligent and even poignant account of the ups and downs of growing up in an alternative, "hippie" environment. I highly recommend this collection to bohemian's and non-bohemians alike!

Aug 01, 2014 Sandy rated it really liked it
This was an interesting and insightful look at the lives of young women who were born and raised in the hippie counterculture. My favorites were the essays by Chelsea Cain and Cecily Schmidt, but all of the stories are thought-provoking, revealing, and in some cases, quite startling.
Apr 02, 2009 Stevie-Lynn rated it really liked it
Another of my favorites. This book is a compilation of stories from women who grew up in the counter culture. Some stories are nostalgic for the 1960s, while others are anything but peace,love, and flowers. Overall though, you get a glimpse of what life was like in the counterculture
Dec 07, 2009 Linda added it
This book so reminds me of my childhood. Then my mother was called a Bohemian. My daughter thinks it is a wierd, not realistic memior. One of my sons says he sees me in the book.
Jan 21, 2010 Anastasia rated it liked it
Could have been much better-- too short, and some pieces were not very strong. Still, it was a fascinating collection.
Kathryn Dysart
Sep 17, 2011 Kathryn Dysart rated it liked it
Wonderful stories. I liked best the ones in which the daughters had come to peace with thir parents best intentions.
Aug 22, 2010 Shanna rated it really liked it
Interesting stories. Tells stories from varying eras about girls who try to cope being brought up differently then most people are used to.

I enjoyed them.
Jan 09, 2011 Natasha rated it it was amazing
Rereading this one. Explains so much about hippie children like myself and the two world views we straddle.
Nov 06, 2009 Tiffany rated it it was amazing
I absolutley loved this book! I related to just about every hippie like childhood story. One of my favorites for sure. It was nice to read that I am not alone in my childhood weirdness.
Dec 27, 2010 Peacegal rated it liked it
This is a quick and mostly entertaining read. It’s a collection of essays by women who grew up in the hippie counterculture of the 60s and 70s.
S.R. Skelton
Jun 28, 2015 S.R. Skelton rated it liked it
I was so excited about this book, and it was lovely, but it didn't have a Northern California back to the land story. I was hoping it would.
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Chelsea Cain is the New York Times bestselling author of the Archie Sheridan/Gretchen Lowell thrillers Heartsick, Sweetheart, Evil at Heart, The Night Season, Kill You Twice, and Let Me Go. Her next book One Kick (August, 2014) will be the first in her Kick Lannigan thriller series. Her book Heartsick was named one of the best 100 thrillers ever written by NPR, and Heartsick and Sweetheart were na ...more
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