Free Spirit

Free Spirit

Growing up on the Road and Off the Grid

Book - 2013
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An Unforgettable Journey Through an Unconventional Childhood

When Joshua Safran was four years old, his mother--determined to protect him from the threats of nuclear war and Ronald Reagan--took to the open road with her young son, leaving the San Francisco countercultural scene behind. Together they embarked on a journey to find a utopia they could call home. In Free Spirit , Safran tells the harrowing, yet wryly funny story of his childhood chasing this perfect life off the grid--and how they survived the imperfect one they found instead.

Encountering a cast of strange and humorous characters along the way, Joshua spends his early years living in a series of makeshift homes, including shacks, teepees, buses, and a lean-to on a stump. His colorful youth darkens, however, when his mother marries an alcoholic and abusive guerrilla/poet.

Throughout it all, Joshua yearns for a "normal" life, but when he finally reenters society through school, he finds "America" a difficult and confusing place. Years spent living in the wilderness and discussing Marxism have not prepared him for the Darwinian world of teenagers, and he finds himself bullied and beaten by classmates who don't share his mother's belief about reveling in one's differences.

Eventually, Joshua finds the strength to fight back against his tormentors, both in school and at home, and helps his mother find peace. But Free Spirit is more than just a coming-of-age story. It is also a journey of the spirit, as he reconnects with his Jewish roots; a tale of overcoming adversity; and a captivating read about a childhood unlike any other.
Publisher: New York : Hyperion, 2013.
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781401324605
Branch Call Number: 979.461054092 Saf
Characteristics: viii, 273 pages : illustrations, portraits ; 24 cm.


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Aug 16, 2017

Raised by hippies more concerned with saving the world than with being attentive parents, Joshua spends his childhood bouncing around dwellings each more primitive than the last as they attempt to survive by their principles, ending up in the woods near Stanwood, Wash. Dragged along to protests as a tot by his Berkeley feminist mom, he becomes an unfortunate victim of her poor choices and downright neglect. Joshua bears silent witness as he sees her high ideals erode further and further away, as each subsequent boyfriend treats her worse and worse until physical abuse becomes the accepted norm. A frank, absorbing true story of a young man struggling to find his way, and rise above the conflict of his mother's idealistic views and the abusive reality in which he finds himself.

Feb 17, 2014

Trigger alert***

This book was filled with physical, emotional and sexual abuse.
Ginette Nielsen

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