Official Review: When Life Was Like a Cucumber by Greg Wyss

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Miller56
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Official Review: When Life Was Like a Cucumber by Greg Wyss

Post by Miller56 »

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "When Life Was Like a Cucumber" by Greg Wyss.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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When Life Was Like A Cucumber by Greg Wyss takes the reader on a road trip into the life of a disillusioned man in the early 1970’s. The book is written as if it is a biography; however, it is a fictional story of the life of Jeffrey Hesse. Jeff is a college educated hippie who works only when necessary. He spends his time traveling, doing drugs, and having sex. The book depicts life in the early 1970’s under the political environment created by the Richard Nixon administration. People were being drafted for the Vietnam War. Many young men were travelling to Canada to escape the draft, while others were coming up with creative techniques for not going. It was a time of protests and people voicing their beliefs. Many young adults were struggling to find themselves. They did not fit into the society of the times. Drugs and alcohol were rampant and used to escape the confusion of the world. Many young adults were fighting societal norms. They had no desire to join the establishment and instead set out on a road of drugs, sex, and rock-n-roll. This book provides a good overview of life as it was experienced by this generation coming to age in the early 1970’s.

Jeff and Jane started their lives as high school sweethearts, then went on to get married after Jane found out she was pregnant. After a miscarriage, they decided to go ahead with the wedding. However, as fate would have it, they were not meant to be. Jeff became more and more disillusioned with life and became less and less ambitious to become part of the normal establishment. He became more involved with drugs and chasing the next sexual partner. This led to him traveling around Europe living life as many young Americans did at that time.

The characters in the book were generally well-developed. Jeff had a good group of friends in the United States that the reader could become friends with. The lifestyle was not something I would have enjoyed, but it was the life of many young adults trying to figure out life in that time. The author described the people, places, music, and lifestyles very accurately which allowed the reader to become part of the scene. It was easy for the reader to picture the houses where large groups of hippies lived, the bars, the drugs, the lack of privacy, and maybe even feel the lack of care. This was a time where hitchhiking was a way of life. People were not afraid to give strangers rides and helping each other was natural. The description of the beaches in Europe were amazing. The reader could easily picture the white sand and the blue waters. I appreciated the detail the author provided in describing these places. It made me want to go back to that time and wander these places.

I felt that the book was too long to cover the topic. Much of the book was repetitious. Basically, the story described doing various drugs, picking up women, sexual escapades, and bodily functions. Many of the details in the story were not necessary to describe how life was. I am not sure there was really a plot to the story other than to describe what the 1970’s was like for some people. The sense of being lost and looking for something to make sense in the world could have been obtained without the repetitious sexually explicit scenes. I also felt like the ending of the book left the reader hanging. Basically, driving off into the sunset did not make sense for an ending to this book.

I would rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. The book appears to have been edited since I only found two errors. However, the graphic sexual details and descriptions of body functions took away my interest in the story. I recommend this book only to a mature audience. The adult content and sexually explicit scenes are not suitable to a younger audience. This book would be interesting to those who enjoy reading about life during this time. The book touches on the Nixon administration and the Vietnam War but does not go into much detail. The historical information in the book is solely about the lifestyle of the period.

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When Life Was Like a Cucumber
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Awesomeliker
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Post by Awesomeliker »

The title really suits the character of a hippie. It's a really amusing title. The story also seems interesting. It's a shame that a good idea was wasted in distracting things such as repetition and too many details. Thanks for the amazing review!
Live your life in a way that you won't look back and regret things :D
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Post by Kola+wole »

I'll pass, thank you.
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Post by Wy_Bertram »

I'd never really given much thought to that time period before, but it sounds quite bleak. It's a shame about the execution of the book. Great work on the review.
Miller56
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Post by Miller56 »

Awesomeliker wrote: 19 Aug 2020, 00:37 The title really suits the character of a hippie. It's a really amusing title. The story also seems interesting. It's a shame that a good idea was wasted in distracting things such as repetition and too many details. Thanks for the amazing review!
Thanks for stopping by.
Miller56
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Post by Miller56 »

Wy_Bertram wrote: 20 Aug 2020, 14:46 I'd never really given much thought to that time period before, but it sounds quite bleak. It's a shame about the execution of the book. Great work on the review.
Thanks for taking time to read my review. This time period was definitely a troubling time in the United States. That generation was definitely disillusioned by what they considered the establishment (basically getting an education, a job, and starting a family).
Miller56
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Post by Miller56 »

Kola+wole wrote: 19 Aug 2020, 17:26 I'll pass, thank you.
I thought that it would be a great book about that time period, but it ended up being very different than I anticipated. Thanks for stopping by and reading my review.
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Post by Literary_Goblin »

I find myself rather intrigued by this book. As a member of generation Z, my view of the 1970s included discos and an almost fiction like perspective of the Vietnam War. It seems so vastly different from the world that I'm familiar with, that its difficult to picture myself in that setting. To me, it feels like a sepia tinted rendition of my parents' childhood memories.

Which is what has encouraged me to add this book to my ever growing reading list. I feel as though the bleakness and brutal honesty of the book would help give me a more grounded, realistic view of an era so foreign to me.
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Post by BraItu »

The title of the book goes hand-in-hand with the story itself... Thank you
Miller56
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Post by Miller56 »

Literary_Goblin wrote: 24 Aug 2020, 07:19 I find myself rather intrigued by this book. As a member of generation Z, my view of the 1970s included discos and an almost fiction like perspective of the Vietnam War. It seems so vastly different from the world that I'm familiar with, that its difficult to picture myself in that setting. To me, it feels like a sepia tinted rendition of my parents' childhood memories.

Which is what has encouraged me to add this book to my ever growing reading list. I feel as though the bleakness and brutal honesty of the book would help give me a more grounded, realistic view of an era so foreign to me.
I hope you enjoy reading it. It was definitely a different time. I grew up during this time, but my life was very different than that presented in the book. I grew up around people who were similar to those in the book though and always wondered how life could be so laid back. I think at this point in my life, a point between what is presented in the book and what my life was is probably the best place to have been.
Miller56
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Post by Miller56 »

BraItu wrote: 25 Aug 2020, 04:35 The title of the book goes hand-in-hand with the story itself... Thank you
It certainly does. Thanks for taking time to read my review.
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