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Drop City

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  10,705 ratings  ·  955 reviews
It is 1970, and a down-at-the-heels California commune devoted to peace, free love, and the simple life has decided to relocate to the last frontier—the unforgiving landscape of interior Alaska—in the ultimate expression of going back to the land. Armed with the spirit of adventure and naïve optimism, the inhabitants of “Drop City” arrive in the wilderness of Alaska only t ...more
Paperback, 497 pages
Published January 27th 2004 by Penguin Books (first published 2003)
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Eddie Watkins
Feb 08, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: american-fiction
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
Jun 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001-read, favorites
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
Jason Pettus
Jul 18, 2007 rated it really liked it
(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
MJ Nicholls
Sep 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: merkins, novels
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
David K. Lemons
Jul 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For me, some novels just blur after putting them down, and I don't remember anything significant about the book (a new friend potentially) I had spent hours with. A lot of crime novels are like that, but with Drop City I recall almost all the plot and the details. Such an interesting book about a class of people whom I especially loathed at the time, until I came back from overseas and got to know a few through work and friends of friends, namely, hippies, political radicals, religious nuts, fem ...more
Sep 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Feb 29, 2012 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
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
Jan 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Ron Charles
Nov 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Tikay Hill
May 02, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Sian Lile-Pastore
Jul 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This is a proper, juicy, big novel. I love Boyle's writing style (feels somehow like old-fashioned storytelling) and it's one if those novels you can just sink into. Saying that though, it is a bit long.... And I think I'd have enjoyed it more if I'd read it on a long train journey or something, as it's difficult to get back into if you're just reading a few pages here and there.

It's a book about a commune that moves to Alaska - I felt cosy reading about fires and stew in cold cabins, but the wh
Apr 22, 2007 rated it it was ok
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
Apr 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you look up ‘hippies’ in the index of Todd Gitlin’s book The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage you’ll find the note: “See counterculture;” and under counterculture you’ll find a smorgasbord of topics, from rock music to mysticism, that will make certain baby-boomers swoon with nostalgia. But for those of us who grew up in the ‘80s—people who’d rather dine with Alex Keaton than Abby Hoffman—hippie culture exists in a series of colored-many-times-over childhood memories: a clattering VW van ...more
Jul 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is Boyle's ninth novel, first published in 2003, and it was a National Book Award finalist. The title refers to the topic of focus: a hippie communal experiment along the Russian River in 1970 that then migrates to the wilds of Alaska. If you are familiar with Boyle's earlier work, then you know the novel will explore the life of this commune (and juxtapose it with an alternative coupling of adults) by offering the voice and perspectives of a range of different characters, and through dense ...more
Mar 25, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
May 12, 2013 rated it liked it
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.
Lauren Albert
Feb 05, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
A truly bleak vision of human nature. It was not a good sign that half way through I was ready to skip to the end and call it a day. When this happens, it means that I care enough to want to know the rest of what happens, but that I'm not engaged enough with the characters or the writing or the story to want to make the whole journey with them.
Jul 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Apr 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
MARAVILLOSO. ¿Por qué se acaban los libros de Boyle, POR QUÉ? Podría vivir (y divertirme) en cualquiera de ellos PARA SIEMPRE.
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I graduated from high school in 1968, the height of the free-love/summer-of-love/hippie movement. And living and growing up in Utah, I always thought that I had missed out on this. I didn't go to San Francisco and live the life-style in Haight Ashbury and Berkeley and no, I didn't make it to Woodstock. But after reading Boyle's superb novel, Drop City, I'm actually glad that I missed out on this misguided movement.

The novel takes place in 1970 and alternates between the tale of a California com
When I first picked this book up I got a bit of a quizzing from hubby as he took one look at the cover and wondered what on earth I was reading 😂 It did as a result make me quite conscious of how I left it on my desk at work!

I think this may well be my first book based during the hippy era, and at first I wasn't quite sure I would enjoy it. The whole laziness of them in their Californian commune was pretty disgusting really and it's no wonder the authorities wanted them moved on. The other part
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Omg! That was soooo amazing man.
This made me feel as though I was born in the wrong decade, of this I am certain! I was meant to be apart of this hippy commune. I am sure I would have contributed more then my fair share and added a different perspective of knowledge that could have helped them battle their cruel Alaskan winter.
This author captured the heart, mind and soul of the Hippy so perfectly!
This was my FAVORITE read of the year by far. But of course all good things had to come to an en
Aaron S
Mar 19, 2017 rated it liked it
The story itself is unique. I throughly enjoy the way T. Coraghessan flawlessly incorporates two seemingly opposite plots and binds them simultaneously. But.... it's too drawn out. Overall it's a bit bland!
Frederick Bingham
Jan 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Ian Mapp
Jun 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
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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
“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
“Music was like food, like water, like air - that necessary, that essential - and here she was in a break-on-through mood and nothing for it but her own stumbling version caught like lint on her tongue.” 1 likes
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