Amy Reinitz, Contributor Ω
Beverly Golden’s Confessions of a Middle-Aged Hippie follows significant events in the author’s lifetime through an extended conversation with a fictional talk show host named Erings. The events, listed non-chronologically, include her musical career, marriage, birth of her daughter and her struggle with illness throughout her life.
Coming from a present place of healthiness and self-fulfillment, Golden reflects on how she has handled each event in her life and suggests to readers what might have been the best way to do so. The blend of fiction and non-fiction allows Golden to offer reflection and wisdom on her life so far.
Golden’s book is different from other memoir-type books in that she has not achieved fame or lived an extraordinary life, but this gives her the advantage in connecting with average readers, especially from her generation. Although the events included are not wholly exceptional, Golden does her best to contrive a lesson out of each one for the reader to take away.
The book comes off a tad self-righteous at times, mostly because it feels like Golden is congratulating herself through Erings praises of her stories. The fiction/non-fiction collaboration is unique, but unnecessary for the purpose of the novel. The hippie-esque lessons were occasionally difficult to relate to, especially if you have little stock in astrology, in which Golden is a committed believer.
Golden does seem more than satisfied with her existence. She frequently mentions that she has taken a path less travelled, and she’s proud of it. Despite all this, it feels like Golden is searching for approval from her readers. Her need for applause is evident through the constant praise she rewards herself from Erings. This mixes up her message a bit, because readers are initially encouraged to stand by their own intuition, meanwhile noticing Golden’s own insecurities about her stories of doing so.
For a first time author, the novel reads well and is grammatically sound, but unless you identify as the same kind of ‘hippie’ as Golden, it is hard to stay engaged. The memoirs, though cherished by Golden, are not the most riveting for the average reader. However, Golden’s outlook on her life can be seen as endearing at the least, and inspiring to anyone who can relate. Overall, the memoir tries hard to deliver life lessons, and Golden can be commended for her positive outlook on her own life.