Monday, May 6, 2013

Book Review: Hippie Boy: A Girl's Story

WINNER: 2012 eFestival of Words Best of Independent Book Awards (General Non-Fiction)

What would you do if your stepfather pinned you down and tried to cast Satan out of you? For thirteen-year-old Ingrid, the answer is simple: RUN.

Ingrid Ricks grew up in a dysfunctional Mormon family with an absent, freewheeling dad and an intensely religious mother who was desperate to ensure her family's eternal salvation. For years she yearned to escape the suffocating religion and poverty at home by joining her dad on the road as tool-selling vagabond. When her parents divorce and her mother marries Earl--a cruel authoritarian who exploits his Church-ordained priesthood powers to oppress her family--she finally gets her wish. At age thirteen, Ingrid begins spending her summers hustling tools throughout the Midwest with her dad and his slimy, revolving sales crew. He becomes her lifeline and escape from Earl. But when her dad is arrested, she learns the lesson that will change her life: she can't look to others to save her; she has to save herself.

I've been on a reading streak lately. It seems to come and go in spells - and quite honestly, as much as I love reading - a book must grab me at the beginning, or I tend to lose interest. Hippie Boy: A Girl's Story did just that! I thoroughly enjoyed this book by Ingrid Ricks (her first novel!) Described as a "coming-of-age story," it made me think about my own 13-year-old self growing up in a middle-class Midwest family, with our own share of ups and downs and difficult times. There's something about that time of life - in between childhood and young adulthood - that is so full of bittersweet memories, yearning and angst. Ms. Ricks captures it perfectly! Although the main character in this book is a 13-year-old girl, this is a very grown-up story - make no mistake about it. It's about the often complicated relationships between fathers and daughters, mothers and daughters and siblings. It's about a dysfunctional family, yes, but how many among us can say there wasn't some sort of dysfunction in our own family growing up? The older I get, the more I realize that almost every family has their own dysfunction in one form or another - and it doesn't mean they don't love each other and stand strong in their support of each other when the chips are down.

I loved the descriptions in this book of life on the road with Ingrid and her father and the joys and disappointments and heartache that ensues. This is an authentic story and I loved it and could (and probably will) read it again. A great summer read!

About the Author:
Ingrid Ricks started her career as a journalist, spent fifteen years as a marketing/PR consultant and is now embracing her writing/mentoring dream full-time. She is the author of Hippie Boy: A Girl's Story, a coming-of-age memoir; FOCUS, a memoir about her journey with the blinding degenerative eye disease Retinitis Pigmentosa; and A Little Book of Mormon (and Not So Mormon) Stories, a collection of short autobiographical stories.

Ingrid lives in Seattle with her husband and two daughters. When not writing, working with students, or leading seminars focused on embracing the moment, she can be found accompanying her family to soccer games, ice hockey games, or the beach. She also enjoys hanging out at her neighborhood jazz club or alternating between her two favorite coffee shops. For more information, visit

To order Hippie Boy: A Girl's Story from, click below:


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