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Drop City [Paperback]

T.C. Boyle
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Fun, better than most of what's out there June 23 2005
By Ondre
I'm a fan of TC Boyle. I came to him slowly, skeptically, but this is the third Boyle novel I've read, after Friend of the Earth and The Inner Circle. I'll definitely pick up other titles in the future. The things I like about him are his humorous manner of dealing with complex characters and situations. Parts of this book are laugh out loud funny. He has a knack for setting up absurd situations that you read aghast, cringing and smiling at the same time. (The afternoon of the communal acid-drop, child drug near-death, automobile and horse incident is a prime example.) He has his own rhythm and style, telling the very different stories of the California hippies and Alaskan bush-folk with equal panache. Nothing plays out exactly the way you'd expect. Some characters stories come to life; others fade into the background without the obvious sort of climaxes/conflicts you might think the novel is building towards.
One thing I'd like to say for people who are just cruising other reviews is that I don't think Boyle is as negative about hippy culture as some make him out to be. There seem to be a lot of readers who want to bash hippies and like this book because they think that's what it was doing. But I think Boyle has a lot more understanding of free-loving, drug taking dropouts. He writes them with humor, but it's an affectionate humor. I've no doubt there's a bit of Pan in him, a bit of a freeloving hedonist. He may be passed it and on to age and wisdom, but this novel was absolutely not written by someone ranting from a pulpit - as some of the other reviewers have done.
So read it for the same reasons you'd read any Boyle novel. It's intelligent, amusing, thought provoking and more fun than almost anything else out there.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Drop City Review July 16 2004
The thing I found most enjoyable about T.C. Boyle's Drop City was the amazing ability Boyle has to enter into a character's head. The novel is told from the perspectives of five different people: three hippies, who decide to move to Alaska with the other members of their California commune (named Drop City), and two native Alaskan residents who live in the area that the hippies choose to inhabit. Each of these characters is so vividly and accurately portrayed, so lifelike, realistic, and utterly convincing, that it seems at times that the book was written by five separate people. Of course, Boyle's humorous and unique use of language are constant throughout, uniting the different viewpoints and proving that the book was written by one experienced and talented author. The verisimilitude of the characters, combined with the subtle comments on human nature Boyle disperses throughout the novel, make Drop City a truly involving and captivating read. I finished the book very quickly, and wanted it to last even longer than its 497 pages. At times hilarious, at times depressing, and always realistic, the novel is truly hard to put down. This was the first work by T.C. Boyle I've read, but I definately plan to read more, and hope that the other works I read have the same authentic characters, humorous way with words, and poignant insight to the nature of human beings that all made Drop City so enjoyable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and absorbing July 3 2004
By A Customer
I read this book after reading a (favorable) review in the newspaper. I actually expected it to be much more...subversive, might be the word I want, as if the author himself were a hippie thumbing his nose at society and doing something strange and exotic with characters and the plot. Instead, it was a conventional novel, which I found very welcome. In the story, it was unexpected to find a 1970s group of hippies (originally living in a commune called Drop City north of San Francisco) moving up to Alaska to try to continue their community up there. (Not what you think of when you think "hippie story.") They come in contact with non-hippies ("straights") trying to live self-sufficiently there in the wild. It was great to get a feel for the differences and similarities between the two types, and to ultimately find out that there are some things we all (even straights) are after. I also liked the author's theme that there's really no place you can go to escape clashes and conflicts with other humans. Even if you have one neighbor, he or she could be the wrong one.
The only thing I found puzzling was Pamela, who marries a trapper living in a remote cabin in the wilds of Alaska. She does this because she's afraid of what's happening to society, with all the hippies and drop-outs. But when they move to a cabin near hers, she becomes friends with them right away. I just thought it would've taken her much longer to even think of getting to know them. Otherwise I found the book well-written, often funny, and enjoyable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Drop City: Life on the Edge June 30 2004
Drop City is a novel about the edges of America and the idea of the frontier, both literally and figuratively. A group of hippies living on a 1960s California commune decides to pack it up and try their hand at life in the Alaskan wilderness, beyond the reach of The Man.
The description of Drop City's migration to the north is intertwined with the story of the modern-day mountain men and women of Boynton, Alaska - living off the land, they are also dropouts from "straight" society in their own ways.
T.C. Boyle is masterful at examining the dream of the frontier, and all its limitations, through a large and diverse cast of characters. Each player's narrative voice conveys a unique perspective: drugged haze, frustrated masculinity, awe in the face of Nature's power, and transcendant happiness are just a few of the feelings the reader will experience as the narrative moves between the characters. The hippies Star and Marco, and the frontier couple, Sess and Pamela, are the true survivors in the story, and you will be rooted to your seat as their happiness is jeopradized again and again by the freaky, unhinged characters that surround them. "Drop City" is a compelling, emotional and suspenseful tale of life on the edge of sanity, society, and basic survival, and a thrilling depiction of the beauty and danger that ensues when people choose to live this life.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Hippies - A Way of Life
I picked this up one evening from the lost & found when working a night shift and bookless, the cover intrigued me. I enjoyed the book, a great read and very interesting. Read more
Published on Dec 14 2005 by Lisa
4.0 out of 5 stars In response to the presentation of women and blacks
I read this book and felt that the narrator's voice was not the author's voice. Rather, it was a narrator that was able to reflect that although these people saw themselves as... Read more
Published on June 25 2004 by R. Gahan
4.0 out of 5 stars really excellent book!
This book is really great. I couldn't stop thinking about it for days after I finished it. It's also a book that can appeal to a wide range of people. Read more
Published on June 23 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars A Reactionary Tale
This novel was very engaging and accurate in it's depiction of the drug-addled and heady days of the 70's. Read more
Published on June 22 2004 by Heather
4.0 out of 5 stars You can almost smell these hippies...
With breathless prose T.C.Boyle perfectly conveys the druggy travails of the Drop City commune's residents in this episodic novel which gradually builds in power as his cast of... Read more
Published on June 8 2004 by C. Gardner
3.0 out of 5 stars The Virtue of Lifestyles?
I'm very much in agreement with "vitaminj's" review from earlier this year. I'm appreciative of Boyle's talent and the deft drawing of his characters. Read more
Published on May 29 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Up to our ears (and love beads) in wilderness encounters
I was there, and I can tell you Boyle's descriptions of the pothead slackers of the sixties is dead on. Read more
Published on April 27 2004 by Randall Neustaedter
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful
As with all T.C. Boyle's books, this one is no different: well-written, brilliant, and engaging, you simply can't go wrong with anything the man does. Read more
Published on April 27 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars Tom Wolfe meets William Golding
I know they say you can't judge a book by its cover, but in this case, it's not a bad comparison. This book is dark, funny, strange, and riveting, much like the cover photo of... Read more
Published on April 8 2004 by H. Huggins
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