Hippie Boy: A Girl's Story

( 14 )

Overview

Discover the unforgettable New York Times bestselling memoir about growing up in a dysfunctional Mormon family—and finding escape, adventure, and hard-earned wisdom on the road...

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.

For years Ingrid Ricks yearned to escape the poverty and the suffocating brand of Mormon religion that oppressed her at ...

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Hippie Boy: A Girl's Story

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Overview

Discover the unforgettable New York Times bestselling memoir about growing up in a dysfunctional Mormon family—and finding escape, adventure, and hard-earned wisdom on the road...

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.

For years Ingrid Ricks yearned to escape the poverty and the suffocating brand of Mormon religion that oppressed her at home. Her chance came when she was thirteen and took a trip with her divorced dad, traveling throughout the Midwest, selling tools and hanging around with the men on his shady revolving sales crew. It felt like freedom from her controlling mother and cruel, authoritarian stepfather—but it came with its own disappointments and dysfunctions, and she would soon learn a lesson that would change her life: she can't look to others to save her; she has to save herself.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
02/03/2014
Originally self-published, Ricks's memoir recounts a childhood spent ping-ponging between two unstable parents. The author's clear-eyed prose keeps the pages turning as she depicts life with a deeply pious and insecure mother and an abusive stepfather. These chapters alternate with those recalling summers spent with her salesman father, Jerry. They drove all over the Western U.S., sleeping in a van and selling locals tool sets using her father's "golden tongue because he can talk his way in or out of anything." These sections are particularly engrossing as she adeptly captures a dysfunctional relationship that's steeped in love. With such a strong and eventful timeline of events, it's easy to overlook the missing pieces in her narrative. Ricks writes in her own young perspective, skimping in the type of reflection that makes this genre so powerful. We are rarely offered the gift of hindsight and the motivations behind her parent's actions are often left unexplored. One wishes she'd been able to provide perspective on how she survived and what she thinks of it now. It makes for a litany of trouble and abuse that's well written and heartbreaking but ultimately not very revealing or empowering. (Jan.)
Kirkus Reviews
2013-11-04
A memoirist's account of growing up in a devout yet completely dysfunctional Mormon home. When Ricks' (Focus, 2012) mother married fellow Mormon Earl, a twice-divorced mechanic with a sketchy past, the author knew that things would never be the same. Cruel and controlling, Earl lived off his new wife and abused her children with impunity. The one bright spot in Ricks' life was her affectionate but at times unreliable salesman father, Jerry, whose "need to be free" she both understood and envied. She was his favorite, the daughter he called "Hippie Boy" for her long, tangled hair; he was her hero, the man with "the golden tongue…[who] could talk his way in or out of anything." Before Earl's arrival, she was able to travel with Jerry from time to time to escape the oppressive environment her "religious fruitcake" mother had created at home. But afterward, those trips became a bone of contention between Ricks and Earl, who used his church-granted authority as head of household and "direct line to God" to deliberately thwart his stepdaughter's efforts to be with her father. Ricks still managed to circumvent Earl's tyrannical rules and spent summers working with Jerry on the road, washing up in gas-station bathrooms, sleeping in cars and living on fast food. When police arrested her father for suspected embezzlement, Ricks suddenly realized the dangerously fragile nature of Jerry's bold but often reckless existence. Her hero was a charming sham; the only person who could save her from unhappiness was herself. In clear, graceful prose and in a voice that is refreshingly authentic, Ricks tells an uplifting story of heartbreak, hope and self-salvation.
Mainstreet Plaza - Carol Hanson
“Triumph of the human spirit".."one of the most successful bildungsromans I’ve ever read. If you’re looking for an entertaining adventure that’s more than just fluff, pick up a copy of Hippie Boy!!"
IndieReader.om - Maya Fleischmann
“A moving and inspiring story of a teenage girl who rises above the constraints of her oppressive family life. Five stars."
Booklist - Daniel Kraus
“A soft-spoken yet resounding reminder of the power plays tied to religion...Ricks’ voice is true, and her prose has a poised confidence missing from the repertoires of many established authors.” Booklist
eNovel Book Review - eNovel Reviews
“Hippie Boy: A Girl's Story is a stunning masterpiece by a first-time author. Though this is a memoir, it reads like a fictional story, with all the necessary literary elements including conflict, religious strife and character arcs. Brilliant, emotional, and aspirational, you feel empowered and inspired when you reach the last page.”
Kindle Book Reviews - Java Davis
“Ingrid’s story is amazing..This is the quintessential story of pulling yourself up by your bootstraps."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425274002
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 1/7/2014
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 274,861
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Ingrid Ricks is also the author of Focus, a memoir about retinitis pigmentosa, and A Little Book of Mormon (and Not So Mormon) Stories. She co-launched WeAreAbsolutelyNotOkay.org, a nationally recognized mentoring/publishing program for at-risk teens. Her essays and stories have been published in Salon, Ladies Home Journal, and The Advocate, among others.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 14 )
Rating Distribution

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(6)

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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 15, 2011

    Compelling, enjoyable read

    Ingrid Ricks' "Hippie Boy: A Girl's Story" is her memoir of growing up with a devout Mormon mother, a traveling salesman father and the abusive Earl, who does not deserve the dignity of the word "stepfather." Despite the sometimes downbeat subject matter, it is a compelling, enjoyable read; I read half of it the first day. Ingrid nails the narrative voice of her youthful, enthusiastic self, and it's a pleasure to spend time with her. She sketches in the characters so fully and vividly that I actually had to stop reading a couple of times when I got furious at Earl's antics. Absolutely terrific book, and highly recommended for all readers.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 13, 2011

    Touching and Funny Story About a Challenging Childhood

    Ingrid's struggle to overcome her situation and eventually conclude that only she can save herself is inspiring and masterfully written in Hippie Boy. I devoured this book in two days.

    I can still see Ingrid (9) and her older sister Connie (12) standing in the entrance of a store holding $100 and charged with buying the groceries for the next month. They're there because their dad, tired of fighting with their mother over money, grabbed them, drove them to the store, shoved a $100 bill in Connie's hand, and ordered them to buy groceries for the family. I can see them wondering what's happening, and trying to figure out how they're going to do this. Still makes me laugh (and cry).

    And there are many more such stories, all weaved into Ingrid's struggle. Even though my struggles pale in comparison, I can completely empathize.

    Where there's a will there's a way!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 27, 2011

    Amazing story - a must read!

    If this is Ingrid Ricks' first foray into publishing, I can only hope that there is more where this came from. Her talent for telling a tale of a brutal upbringing is amazing. As a child, Ingrid coped with an absentee but magical father, a depressed mother struggling with the guidelines of the Mormon church, a creep of a stepfather, and a group of siblings. I held my breath through the perfectly written sequences of Ingrid's life as she tries to find stability in a horribly unstable environment and as she struggles with poverty and uncertainty. That she triumphs in the end is not only perfect for this story arc, but a gift to all of us. I recommend this book highly for anyone: adult, teen or child. Anyone will come away with the notion that they can fight their own odds with the pluck and determination of this amazing heroine.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 22, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    A story of growing up in a dysfunctional family. It was ok but I

    A story of growing up in a dysfunctional family. It was ok but I think I wanted her to delve more into the emotions of the family and the reasons why they acted the way they did. The step-father was an odd duck and emotionally abusive, the mother was extremely religious but distant and the father was absent much of the time and apparently she was the only one that was close to him, but the reasons they were that way was never really explored. I liked the book but I wanted more. It seemed like it was more of a diary than an examination of the inner workings of the family. It seemed like she had a hard life but it was fairly mild compared to others I have read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2013

    Not great

    Sorry i did not get it - rather dull

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2012

    Hippie Boy is an amazing and entertaining  story of a young teen

    Hippie Boy is an amazing and entertaining  story of a young teen who learns to take life into her own hands.  I constantly found myself  in awe off the life she led thinking how could this be real , but every bit of this  story really happened to Ingrid.  I love how the  author writes abour her life in a storytelling style.  It makes for a compelling read that  you won't want  to put down. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 8, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Ingrid Ricks has a heart-breaking story to tell. It¿s about a m

    Ingrid Ricks has a heart-breaking story to tell. It’s about a mother so yearning to be loved and cared for that she can’t see the trouble in front of her face. First she divorces Ingrid’s father because he doesn’t buy into the Mormon religion she follows with almost fanatic intensity. Then her Mom begins dating Earl, a guy who gives the word “mean” a reality that is painful to read about, let alone what it must have been like to live with. Ingrid at first stays and does her best to ignore the fierce orders and beatings constantly inflicted on her and her siblings. Mom at first seems to accept it all as Earl uses the excuse that he prayed about whatever issue is at hand and then concludes with the “God told me….” line. Yes, it is heart-wrenching but also increasingly frightening as Earl ups his domination.
    Meanwhile Ingrid’s Dad is a salesman of whatever idea he currently has in his head to “get rich quickly.” Ingrid is devoted to him, primarily because he’s a soft antidote to the Mormon tyranny in her home with its constant prayers and Scripture reading, along with the orders and physical abuse. But all is not perfect with Dad as Ingrid experiences disappointment after disappointment. She actually realizes she is often being used. Yet she still remains loyal, although now cautious, as she has no alternative plans of action.
    Enough said about the family dysfunction which will increase until Ingrid becomes even stronger, with the help of good friends and some lucky breaks when her father is arrested on an embezzlement charge.
    This is a memoir that MUST be shared. For it’s not just about some Mormon craziness but what happens when persons with psychological needs and dangerous behaviors inflict their illness on innocent children. To be clear, not all Mormons share these devastating traits. Any religion attracts those with mentally handicapped backgrounds and intentions; here is a prime example. But what is more frightening is the lack of any observation or intervention by a neutral party to stop behavior that must have negative repercussions because of years of living in such a terrorizing atmosphere. This reviewer didn’t like this account at all – who possibly could? However, this memoir is both an alert for those who might be near such families and a cry for action where it is so clearly warranted. One also wonders why some Mormon leaders refuse to address this issue and why desire for privacy and denial issues are more important than action and termination of such misappropriation of church doctrine. Justice is sorely in need of being served in like situations and Ingrid Ricks deserves multiple kudos for having the courage to present the truth to the larger public. Here’s to hoping this was a healing experience as well for her!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2013

    good read

    Enjoyed this book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2013

    Highly recommended; will make you laugh and cry!

    If you like reading about people who have been through life and come out on the other side, this is it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2013

    good read

    Very interesting story. Never got borinh.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2012

    Recommended

    I really enjoyed this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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