I haven’t read a book in ages so it was a bit of a delight to be sent Hippy Dinners by Abbie Ross to review – I could sit down and read it and class it as ‘work’!
Hippy Dinners is a tale of a childhood spent in rural North Wales in the 1970’s. Having lived in Wales for the last 15 plus years I was really interested to read what life was like here not that long ago.
The story is told from the point of view of a little girl, who struggles with her parent’s ideology, who resents a little the life that they have chosen for her to live but yet is bewildered and lost when confronted with anything from the wider world.
Life for Abbie is very pleasant – she has a large house and garden, friends and the freedom to roam and play as she pleases. Her parents seem comfortably well off for the area she lives in but they live a sensible life, foraging for mushrooms not because they can’t afford to buy them but because what is the point in buying them when they are growing wild around them?
Abbie idolises her grandparents who are from the big city Liverpool and who she sees as very classy and sophisticated. She also feels the same about a friend of hers from school whose parents live a more modern life, with soda streams and unfettered access to television shows.
The book was interesting, if a little arduous. There was nothing inspiring me to keep reading, I felt no affinity to Abbie – she is just a regular child who wants everything she doesn’t have without recognising the beauty of what she does have. She is an innocent, and at times it is awkward to read her struggling to keep up with her peers, although I am sure plenty of teenagers can identify with this.
Confusing too is the message at the end. I don’t want to ruin the ending but I was left not knowing what the message of the book was supposed to be. Or maybe there is no message. It is simply the diary of a young girl struggling to grow up. The backdrop of rural Wales made it more interesting personally to me though.
I’m not sure whether to recommend it or not to be honest. I think if you have an interest in Wales it could be up your street, otherwise maybe not.
Disclosure – I was sent this book for the purpose of this review. All opinions are honest and my own.