Hippie Chick by Joseph Monninger ((Upper Volta [now Burkina Faso] 1975-77) and published by FRONT STREET Press in Asheville, North Carolina is reviewed by W Tucker Clark PCV (Nepal 1967-70)
When John Coyne said I have a former PCV’s book called Hippie Chick to review, I had visions of having an insight into my 1960’s former life. When it came–as a nice short 156 pages novel–I immediately started reading this tale of Lolly, a 15 year old ‘hippie daughter of a hippie woman,” who loves to sail her Boston Whaler solo in the Florida Keys.
On one of these full moon later afternoons, Lolly hits an underwater obstacle and her boat is impaled and the mast breaks. She is knocked unconscious, and like the spat of movies about being shipwrecked, she is alone in the ocean, desperate and afraid of circling sharks.
Hippie Chick reads like a true-life survival account, except Lolly has typical adolescent guilty thoughts about a sailor boy, Nicky, afraid she might have ‘gone too far’ and is now being punished for his “sexing her up.”
Fearing she is doomed, Lolly tries to recall all the things a person in a shipwrecked boat is supposed to do when out of the sea comes a trio of manatees to rescue her to a nearby mangrove bay.
Monninger’s wonderful writing makes the reader feel the young girl’s fear, and I was reminded that this was a YA book, and not for an adult audience.
That aside, any PCV will love this 15-year-old Lolly and the story of how these Manatees became part of her life, rescued her, and helped to guide her through her relationship with Nicky, her college life, and into life.
Harry Potter has nothing on this girl, and Joe Monninger makes the reader wonder if Lolly will return in another novel!
W Tucker Clark is a semi-retired consultant, writer, workshop leader, VH-1/MTV pro-social program director/producer, Clinical therapist, outdoorsman, practicing Boobysattva and ACIM devotee. Happily divorced, he has his own Lolly-like, twenty-six year old daughter Charlotte Clark, and lives in Myrtle Beach, SC, and will soon be returned for a visit to his host country of Nepal.