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Hideous kinky by Esther Freud
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Hideous kinky (original 1992; edition 1998)

by Esther Freud

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7342012,734 (3.51)75
Member:lynnwords
Title:Hideous kinky
Authors:Esther Freud
Info:Hopewell, N.J. : New York, NY : Ecco Press ; Distributed by W.W. Norton & Co., 1998.
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Hippie, seeker

Work details

Hideous Kinky by Esther Freud (1992)

  1. 00
    The Hypocrisy of Disco: A Memoir by Clane Hayward (sanddancer)
    sanddancer: A real life account of being the child of hippie parents.
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Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
Feckless mother or enlightened childhood?

This for me feels a hard book to review as I have mixed feelings about it or maybe just the message that's intended.

This is a tale of two young children taken to Morocco in the 1960's by their hippy mother and their experiences there.

There is no doubt that the book is well written from the point of a young girl which is maintained throughout,no mean feat in itself, but that also means that the narrative becomes meandering just like their mother's wanderings and also no explanations are ever given. We see an abundance of experiences from the naive point of view of a child who sees adventure everywhere with no thought of the consequences wanting to make friends wherever they whether they be old or young,male or female,wealthy or pauper. The depiction of life in Morocco is very atmosphere as we see the daily struggle that many people have,particularly women in a male dominated country,just to survive the daily grind.

However,if the message is a feminist one then it becomes a little muddled IMHO. The mother sets of to Morocco to find herself yet her reliance on men soon becomes painfully obvious whether it be waiting for the children's father to send money out or a local male,Bilal etc,to provide for them either financially or as company and protection. We also see a young girl who must rely on her mother for everything because she is not old enough unlike Bea to stand alone this becomes more and more desperate with time as her mother seems to become ever more oblivious to her children's needs.

Despite the mother seeming to feel that they are living some sort of idyll in Morocco the children become ever more desperate for the trappings of Western life, Mars bars, Christmas etc.

Now whilst I found this book an engaging light read it failed to really grab me and am unsure quite why it is on the '1001 books before you die' list but that could just be me.Feckless would be my vote. ( )
  PilgrimJess | Sep 16, 2014 |
A rating of 4*s would also be valid here. Oh, where are the half stars when you need them. Although not usually a fan of child narrators, I found this one refreshing, honest and ringing true. An interesting little book that kept me immersed until the conclusion. ( )
  mlbelize | Jan 27, 2014 |
The most loveable and intriguing part of this story was that it was told from the perspective of 5 year old Lucy. And even more so was Freud's ability to keep the [b:magical thinking|7815|The Year of Magical Thinking|Joan Didion|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1165644384s/7815.jpg|1659905] and ideas of Lucy throughout the book which left me wanting more.

Lucy sees all as an adventure and makes keen observations about the adults around her including Mum. Bea who is older is more practical and longs for a more normal and less outrageous Mum.

The story begins with Lucy's mother deciding to go to Morocco with her two young girls, Lucy and Bea. Although the book does not give a timeline, I assumed that it was sometime in the 60's and Mum is on a quest for her spiritual self. As the story unfolds the reader is wrapped up in their adventures as they meet an assortment of wacky characters including The Fool and the Nappy Ladies.

A traveling circus performer, Bilal, becomes a makeshift father figure for the girls bringing some security to their lives. He cares for them and provides a sense of stability to their mother's otherwise sporadic adventure-seeking missions. I loved how they continuously tried to conjure up ideas to make money including having Lucy train as an acrobat.

The girls are amazingly precocious and love to play tag all while screaming their favorite words "hideous" and "kinky". ( )
1 vote MichelleCH | Apr 5, 2013 |
I can't put the BCID in the box near the registration details, it seems there's a problem saving the data. So, here's the link to the book on BC: http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/3149554/

I was surprised by this book. Both by the title and how it returns in the book, as well as by the book itself.
On the first pages, you read how one of the people who is travelling with a group to Morocco, is ill. There's no explanation where that came from, what happened, what kind of disease it is, just presented as a fact. Well, that is not bad, but when in the rest of the story there's only one little sentence near the end saying what is new in that person's life, that's a little meager to me. I was very curious / interested / concerned about her well being and would have wanted to know what happened next.

That was one part of my opinion. The other part is about the rest of the book. And that is, honestly, only one question: how can a mother, a wife do the things that are described in the book? How can she put her children through this, apparently leave a husband behind? Again: no explanation why this journey is made, how things have come to this.

In general I liked the book, but I would have wanted some more background.

Maybe that is provided by the movie, I don't know, since I did now see it. (And don't intend to, by the way.) ( )
  BoekenTrol71 | Mar 31, 2013 |
On the Hippy Trail.

I read this in Morocco, I don't think it would have had much appeal elsewhere. It seemed to be set somewhere in the early 70s, although it was published 20 years later. Not a lot happens but it does evoke some of the sights and sounds of this fascinating country.

I found it a strange book, narrated by a four-year-old girl who travels with her mother and older sister to spend a year or so in Marrakesh. Her mother is a bit distant at times, spending her time meditating, waiting for money to arrive from her (ex)husband back home and generally being a rather irresponsible mum. Her daughter struggles to cope with this lack of direction in her life and searches for parent substitutes amongst the various adults who she meets. At least her older sister, Bea, is able to go to school and has some structure to her day.

Apart from a lack of any great direction to the book, there were also a frustrating number of questions that were left unanswered: Who was John and why was he driving them all down to Morocco? What was wrong with his wife and did she recover? What was wrong with Ahmed's youngest wife's baby??

According to Wikipedia, Ms Freud travelled extensively with her mother until the age of sixteen and this novel is referred to as autobiographical. This fact at least put the book into perspective for me. ( )
  DubaiReader | Jun 11, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140174125, Paperback)

Two little girls are taken by their mother to Morocco on a 1960s pilgrimage of self-discovery. For Mum, it is not just an escape from the grinding conventions of English life but a quest for personal fulfilment; her children, however, seek something more solid and stable amidst the shifting desert sands. 'Just open the book and begin, and instantly you will be first of all charmed, then intrigued and finally moved by this fascinating story' - "Spectator".

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:56:16 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"Two little English girls struggle to establish some semblance of normal life on a journey through Europe with their hippie mother in the mid-1960's. Once in Marrakech, Mum immerses herself in Sufism and her quest for personal fulfillment, while the daughters rebel."--Jacket.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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