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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Book Review- The Hippie Handbook

The Hippie Handbook by Chelsea Cain, Illustrated by Lia Miternique
I have kind of mixed feelings about this book.
The author who grew up on a commune wrote a humorous and sweet book with some little snippets of autobiographical anecdotes and a lot of overviews of hippie type crafts and recipes. I laughed out loud at some parts remembering my own upbringing and seeing how my current lifestyle does reflect growing up the daughter of a hippie.
The projects include a macramé belt, how to tie dye, how to organize a political protest as well as several "How to cook like a hippie" recipes such as how to make tempeh and a recipe for a vegan chocolate cake. I was a little disappointed that the sprouting jars and homemade yogurt of my youth weren't in the book.
It's very basic, the illustrations are lovely and fun, and it is kind of funny. It's more a book for "daytrippers" than for people who really want to try living a hippie lifestyle, but she does include a good bibliography if you are really interested in the philosophy and lifestyle.

Every time she mentioned Native Americans I flinched though. I know that influence was strong in the hippie counterculture and with people who consider themselves hippies now but at the same time, the stereotypical images, like on the page giving ideas for murals "blissfully content Native Americans" just made cringe.

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Books I liked more on similar subjects:
Virginia Gleser's Tie Dye- The How To Book. You can read my review here
The Illustrated Hassle-Free Make Your Own Clothes Book by Joan Wiener Bordow and Sharon Rosenberg. Don't be fooled by the clean cut girl on the cover. The original version had a completely different cover and it's a wonderful hippie clothes making book. You can read my review of that here and get some embroidery patterns inspired by this wonderful book.
Carla Emery's Encyclopedia of Country Living- no review because I'm not done reading it yet. This thing is huge with tons of information on how to live off the grid.
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