When Life Was Like a Cucumber
When Life Was Like a Cucumber is the fictional story of Jeffrey Hesse and his journey of highs and lows in the 1970s New York. Hesse lives a questionable lifestyle: the success of each day is dependent on getting high and/or laid. Drugs and sex are major activities in the story like it was for certain people back in the ’70s. Despite this, Hesse’s life experiences are enjoyable to read about; Greg Wyss is a talented author. Each chapter is another experience in Hesse’s life; there are a hundred and forty-seven chapters, so lots of life experiences. Hesse is a hippy with hippy friends who enjoy the simple life with minimal money, possibly no job, but all the time in the world to get high on drugs during the day to solve their life problems. At night it isn’t uncommon for them to get drunk or laid, not only for the fun of it but also to have a place to sleep for the night.
When Life Was Like a Cucumber chronicles Hesse’s life starting from age twenty-four in New York. Major life events take place throughout the book: a house fire, marriage separation, dodging the draft, meeting many beautiful women, and the three times that Hesse sees God throughout the story while on intense highs. Hesse’s experiences are very personal; only a specific demographic of people can fully relate to his sexual and drug experiences, but any person can enjoy the stories. Disclaimer: there is plenty of nudity mentioned and strong sexual language spoken throughout the story. This reviewer would liken many of the sexual encounters to soft porn played in your mind. Reading about Hesse’s experience with drugs and women sounds all good and exciting when it’s on paper but could potentially be a problem if younger readers read only the positive affects of their lifestyle.
When Hesse ventures around the world, he comes across the phrase that works as the title of his story. The phrase “life is like a cucumber” is an appropriate analogy for the story, for as the saying goes, “one minute it’s in your hand, and the next it’s up your…” I felt that Wyss’s writing flows and is easy to read; you’ll speed past each chapter. To me, each chapter seemed about the same as the one before and after it; the characters are found getting high or laid in very graphic detail. The story is composed of many ideas and experiences in a single person’s life; if you can relate or enjoy reading about these topics then you’ll enjoy this book.
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