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Drop City

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3.86  ·  Rating details ·  11,432 ratings  ·  996 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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Average rating 3.86  · 
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 ·  11,432 ratings  ·  996 reviews


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Hanneke
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
Mario the lone bookwolf
Dec 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: boyle-t-c
The evil side of the happy go lucky flower power unicorn rainbow time that wasn´t as peaceful as one might suppose.

What if hippies weren´t the friendly, peace-loving, open-minded, tolerant, etc great alternative to normal society, but just as bad as normal people with the difference that they do as if they were sooo alternative and progressive.

Building on this plot, Boyle offers another splendid description of the bigotry and mendacity that grows in each society. In this case, it is interesting
...more
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
Jason Pettus
Jul 18, 2007 rated it really liked it
(Full essay can be found at the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com].)

(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
...more
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
Jul 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-american
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
Janet
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
Shovelmonkey1
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
...more
John
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
John
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 come with 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 invol ...more
Andrew
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
Bam cooks the books ;-)
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
...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
...more
Andrew
I'm not sure quite where the appeal comes from, honestly. I read The Tortilla Curtain, and found it to be a funny enough novel about Californian dipshits... Drop City was likewise a tale of colliding cultures, in this case commune-dwellers and Alaskan survivalists. I'm really not sure what Boyle was going for. The idea of a certain set of ideals crashing headlong into the reality of life on the last frontier was already explored by Into the Wild well enough and thoroughly enough that the subject ...more
Sian Lile-Pastore
Jul 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Jeffrey
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
Jeffrey
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
Victoria
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
...more
Liza Rodimtseva
Nov 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
T.C. Boyle casts an eye on the doomed idealism of hippie culture. The frustration that young people had with the authoritarianism and conformity of mainstream culture may have driven them to pursue lofty goals, which in some cases translated into real and lasting social change i.e. women's lib, gay rights, etc. plus a truly inescapable cultural legacy. That legacy has been the cause of much self-satisfied back-patting. (Nothing encapsulates Boomer self-satisfaction like the existence of a 36-hou ...more
Anne N
Apr 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Superb. Boyle does both funny and sober with style. I could’ve read a whole separate book about Pamela and Sess!
Scot
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
George
Jun 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. A very entertaining, enjoyable, interesting, plot driven read with well developed, mostly flawed characters. Set in 1970, the story starts in a commune called 'Drop City', located in California on a 47 acre property owned by a 50 year old man named Norm. Apart from Norm, most of the commune members are in their late teens to mid 20s. The commune espouses 'peace and love,' which mostly translates to people having sex with whoever whilst under the influence of drugs. The women generally ...more
Frank
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
...more
Rick
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
I've thought a lot about this book, but am too lazy for a full review.

I respect this book a lot, and might, on some days, deem it a masterpiece. The writing is brilliant, both in its literary, writerly quality, and in its ability to capture the essence of a now-lost place and time. I'm also astounded by Boyle's ability to cover the details of his chosen era (a California commune, and a remote Alaskan town, in 1970). Not a single element rings false. For these reasons I contemplated giving this 4
...more
Conrad
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
...more
Rachel
May 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is quite an achievement. Set in the 1970s in both CA and Alaska. Mr. Boyle got the tenor of the times exactly. Why not 5 stars? I think the book was longer than it needed to be and the cast of characters a bit too large and diffuse. Having said that, the book was a page turner especially once the scene is set and the characters and the story begins to unfold. The descriptions of the wilderness really came alive. It shows how little we know about what it takes to survive in the wilderne ...more
Thing Two
Nov 21, 2011 rated it liked it
I am so happy to finally be finished with this book.

Boyle is a gifted and imaginative writer, but I really disliked most of the characters in this book and couldn't wait to put it down each day. I forced myself to continue with it because it's on the 1001 books you must read list.

Drop City, the fictional one in this story, is a commune in California whose members decide - after a young girl is raped in their presence, and the authorities are cracking down on their lack of plumbing - to move to
...more
Kingfan30
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
...more
Dree
Late 60s, early 70s. A commune of sorts, Drop City, in Northern California and then Alaska. The "guru", Norm, is a 30-40ish guy who owns property and thus can host this group.

These folks are proud of being hippies, proud of being "free", proud of their (supposed) lack of hangups around sex and drugs. And there is a lot of both, as most of the members just d whatever whenever. Only some of the women and a few of the men do 80% of the work or more. And they know it, for the most part.

The first hal
...more
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T. Coraghessan Boyle (also known as T.C. Boyle, is a U.S. novelist and short story writer. Since the late 1970s, he has published seventeen novels and eleven collections of 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 Distinguished Professor of English at the ...more

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