By: Greg Wyss
Publisher: Page Publishing
Publication Date: February 2019
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: July 2020
This review has to begin this way because, quite frankly, people who were born after the psychedelic decade that was the 60’s are really going to be mad at their parents after reading this book. Tis’ true, readers. I had the 80’s to grow up in. You know...Reagan, heavy metal, hair bands, and that silly New Coke—a brand trying to take a classic and make it better just to have it bomb with consumers. In other words, boring. After reading this stellar book, all I wanted was a time machine to go back and be born again so I could call ‘The Sixties’ my home.
We begin here with author Greg Wyss at a point when the calendar reads 1972. Jeffrey Hesse is a character who will appeal to all. He has just gotten a divorce from his wife Jane – who has quite the energy and anger within – and is about to go on a mission. He wants to take one of those journeys to explore his life, his choices, and go on a “trip” of both mind and body. (Enter the acid.)
Through Jeffrey’s eyes, readers like me—who only learn about events that plagued The Sixties during a history class—are able to frolic in the colorful culture of the United States, fear the war in Vietnam, see the violence-charged protests on the streets (which, unfortunately, have not been erased in the 21st Century), and so much more. Everything comes alive in this tale, and no illicit substance is needed for the reader to have a ball.
This is a character who jumps into some pretty bizarre situations; a great many of them will make you laugh, and with those laughs you’ll learn the lesson there is to be learned. But this is never preachy. This young man is a whole lot of fun as his travels take him from Massachusetts to Florida to a plane ride where Jesus sits beside him all the way to Luxembourg – a part of the book that will keep you absolutely memorized!
From America to Europe, this great man “finds himself” once again as life changes all around him. We head to Switzerland where he spends time learning about his ancestral home in Amsterdam. We tag along with him to the island of Crete during the summertime, where he meets up with a Renaissance man – and does all this with the help of Isadora Duncan who wears her very own halo, so to speak. Just by reading and laughing at his thoughts and words, which are extremely clever, the author creates such a vivid picture of this decade that I almost feel like I didn’t miss out on anything; like I was really there during the Woodstock years.
Greg Wyss has, hands down, created an engrossing, intriguing tale so detailed and, for lack of a better word, beautiful, that it almost rivals the art of Michelangelo, himself.
Quill says: No matter if you are a flower child or not, you will love this charming “trip”!
For more information on When Life Was Like a Cucumber, please visit the author's website at: www.gregwyss.com