Jimi Hendrix Turns Eighty

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Overview

Guy Fontaine's time has passed. His wife is dead, and the small-town Oklahoma newspaper for which he covered sports has forced him into retirement. He sold his home and moved to northern California to live in his daughter's guest cottage. It's all over but the golf.
Then, in a heartbeat, Guy's life goes from boredom to nightmare. After he blacks out on the golf course and drives a golf cart down the San Bruno Freeway, the dream of independence through his golden years flies out ...
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Overview

Guy Fontaine's time has passed. His wife is dead, and the small-town Oklahoma newspaper for which he covered sports has forced him into retirement. He sold his home and moved to northern California to live in his daughter's guest cottage. It's all over but the golf.
Then, in a heartbeat, Guy's life goes from boredom to nightmare. After he blacks out on the golf course and drives a golf cart down the San Bruno Freeway, the dream of independence through his golden years flies out the window. Guy finds himself an involuntary resident in assisted living at Mission Pescadero, which its administrator, Alexandra Truman, calls "the premier retirement community in Half Moon Bay."
Only this is 2022, and old-timers at Mission Pescadero are nothing like the old-timers in south-central Oklahoma. After surviving fifty years of corporate ladders, carpools, mortgages, and insurance annuities, these senior citizens yearn for a time when life was fun - 1967, the days of sex, drugs, peace, revolution, rock and roll, and more sex. So they transform Mission Pescadero into their own version of it. Even the dining hall is divided into where people were during the Summer of Love: Berkley, Old Haight, New Haight, Sausalito, New York. The drugs may be different and the sex driven by girls instead fo guys, but for residents, rock and roll goes on forever.
And what a bunch they are, There's Ray John, the cynical writer of letters to the editor, who will never again be in a situation without complaint; Winston, the drug-dealing, womanizing wheelchair mechanic; Sunshines #1 and #2, still fighting over who is the original; Henry, lonely and perpetually cold; and Phaedra, the self-proclaimed creator of feminism, who hates everyone young, straight, healthy, or happy, including her lifelong companion, Suchada.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Though Jimi doesn't make an appearance in this near-future satire, Sandlin (Skipped Parts; Sorrow Floats) has fun with his surviving fans. The year is 2022 (the year Jimi would've turned 80), and strait-laced retiree Guy Fontaine, at his daughter's behest, moves into the Mission Pescadero nursing home, where aged hippies, former radicals and random California nutjobs refuse to give up their sex, drugs and rock and roll. Guy is stricken with an acute case of culture shock, but gets over it with the help of a few friendly residents who aren't living in a perpetual summer of love. But just as Guy is getting into the scene, the residents take control of the facility to protest the lack of respect they receive from their families, doctors and the home's administrators. Though not all of the humor works across generations (chants of "Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh. AARP is gonna win"), most does, and the action, thankfully, is far from bingo night and crafts hour. (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
It's 2023, smack-dab in the Jeb the Third Bush era and also the year that guitarist Jimi Hendrix would be turning 80, were he still alive. A retired, uprooted Okie recently relocated to California, Guy Fontaine feels the earth move-at his age, the result of a seizure-and awakens to find himself driving a golf cart down the freeway. The next thing he knows, he's a resident of Mission Pescadero, a residential care facility where the administrative staff all talk like Mister Rogers and act like Nurse Ratched and the residents are leftovers from the Haight-Ashbury scene. After taking over the facility, the residents find they're prone to the same factionalism that divided them in 1968, or, for that matter, in high school. It's all sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll, only now with wrinkles and with Depends tossed onstage midconcert. Sort of like a Rolling Stones concert. With baby boomers rapidly reaching retirement age, novelist/screenwriter Sandlin (Skipped Parts) will tap a growing audience that should find this clear-eyed, satirical look into the not-too-distant future informative if not, perhaps, a little scary. For all larger libraries.-Bob Lunn, Kansas City P.L., MO Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Ancient hippies, defying mortality, rise up against the administrators of their retirement community in this near-future black comedy. Poor Guy Fontaine. Momentarily disoriented after his wife's death, the spry 72-year-old drives his cart off a California golf course and onto an interstate. That one lapse allows his daughter Claudia to take control of his assets and bundle him into the Mission Pescadero, which provides, in the year 2022, both A.L. (Assisted Living) and N.C. (Nursing Care), meaning heavy sedation. Guy, a native Oklahoman and former sports editor, is an anomaly in this coastal California institution, most of whose residents are former hippies trapped in their memories of the Summer of Love (1967) or the 1969 confrontation at Berkeley; they still hunger for multiple sex partners ("monogamy is so . . . Eisenhower"). But Guy does find a kindred spirit in Roxanne, known as Rocky, who got a life as a waitress after the hippie scene faded. Sandlin gives these two a full measure of humanity (and his best writing), while treating the other residents as decrepit freaks (one has a face that "looks like a potato that's been stored under the sink too long"). When administrator Alexandra Truman, a bitchy disciplinarian, confiscates one old geezer's cat (house rule: no pets), Guy defends him, decking a staff member. The rebellion is underway, led by a canny crone with a walker who's reliving her days as a '60s militant. She outwits law enforcement (the hippie-hating Lieutenant Monk) tactically and strategically ("Our power is our age"), though she can't prevent an anarchic resident spiking the community's tea with acid. When Monk, armed to the teeth, goes berserk, the cat-ownerheroically disables him, dying in the process. The female governor arrives and sides with the residents; as a tribute to their fallen comrade, they all drop their skirts or pants-the novel's second mass-mooning. Sandlin's seventh novel (after Honey Don't, not reviewed) has some lively flourishes, but the one-note humor quickly palls.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594482830
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 1/2/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Tim Sandlin is the author of several novels, including Skipped Parts (a New York Times Notable Book) and Sorrow Floats.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2010

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