Think your childhood was non-mainstream? A little kooky? Perhaps on the bizarre side? Well check out the hand Josh Safran was dealt being born in the early 70s in a commune in San Francisco during the height of Flower Power and the counter-culture.
Safran makes his childhood—first in city communes; later in remote cabins in the mountain wilderness actually sound happy. Credit his mother, Claudia, for that. Highly intelligent, emotionally warm, full of passion for political change and hope for a just world, Claudia imparted to Josh many values. Yet, she also barely kept food on his plate and never gave him a beautiful home. In fact for one three month period, they lived in a visqueen shelter on tree stumps in a rain forest. Yet these are failings of poverty not intent. Much worse were allowing her lovers to abuse him and to threaten them both by driving under the influence of alcohol on icy mountain roads, often in the dark.
The book is sad, poignant, funny, and a surprising page turner from beginning to end. Check out this hook of an opening sentence “By the time I was ten, I had hitchhiked thousands of miles and befriended hundreds of remarkably strange people.” Here’s a short list of them: Crazy John, Uncle Tony (no blood relation), conniving Bob, deal-making