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Posted December 2, 2006
A book for all generations
Tim Sandlin¿s new novel, Jimi Hendrix Turns Eighty, makes you scared senseless of growing old while looking forward to it at the same time. He states that sometime in the future, librarians will move this book from fiction to non-fiction, and I have every inclination to believe him. No matter how bizarre some of the turns in this book it¿s not hard to think that this could be real, right down to Drew Barrymore as Governor of California. Imagine hippies and boomers, who started a whole new counter culture, getting so old that their children think they can¿t take care of themselves anymore. An assisted living facility is just what these people have rebelled against their whole lives: the establishment. Here they are, older, wiser (most of the time) and with much more worldly experience than the ones taking care of them. Now they are part of a booming business, with their children all too eager to drop them off, take their money and discard them once and for all. Thrown right into the middle of all this is Guy Fontaine. Unlike the other residents, he was never a hippie, never did drugs or protested, and wasn¿t at Woodstock. He¿s from Oklahoma after all. But one trait they all share is that they know for sure, yet refuse to believe that they are getting old before their time. When a resident¿s cat is confiscated, and the shit hits the fan at Mission Pescadero, Guy finds himself as the unlikely leader of the aging bunch, who prove that they still have plenty to offer, with mostly hilarious and sometimes tragic results. Throw in Viagra, LSD, pot, orgies, protests, rock concerts, dementia, Alzheimer¿s, catheters and more outrageous characters than any other Sandlin book, and you¿ve got a novel destined to bridge the gap between generations. I¿ve never before read a book that I could recommend to my sixty year-old father, my fifty year-old uncle, my forty year-old friend, my thirty-year old wife and my twenty year-old brother. And once they read it, I¿m sure there are many more people of different ages that they would recommend it to. And the reason is that Tim¿s themes are universal without being set in a conventional setting. Amidst all the craziness going around at the facility, new love is found, death is dealt with, friendships are made and broken, and happiness is both a fleeting memory and also right around the corner. Within ten pages of this book, I went from snorting out loud laughing to being choked up with tears. And not just once, but consistently throughout. Tim is one of those rare authors that makes me have feelings that are almost identical to those I¿ve had in actual life situations, kind of like a karmic deja vu.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 13, 2010
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