Life's not fair


Matt Paust

Matt Paust
Gloucester, Virginia,
December 31
Sorry - writer's block... BTW the "birthday" listed above is false. I prefer to keep that day private, but am not permitted to do so here, so I'm forced to lie.


FEBRUARY 15, 2012 2:28PM

Ingrid and Jerry's excellent adventure

Rate: 28 Flag

In every adventure story there has to be at least one villain, something that imperils the hero - a mountain, a wolf, a whale, microbe, vampire, zombie, extraterrestrial - or a dark-hearted human being, sometimes even one in the hero's own skin.  Ingrid Ricks introduces us to her main villain at the get-go. Here's how her story begins:

I should have slammed the door in Earl's face.

It's what I wanted to do the minute I saw him standing on our porch, snow clinging to his greasy black hair like dandruff.

He was thick and short, five feet seven at most, with pasty white skin and a bulging gut that pressed against his plaid shirt and hung in a lump over his giant silver belt buckle.

I noticed that his fingernails were stained and filled with dirt...but it was his eyes that bothered me most.  They were icy-blue and hard, magnified by thick glasses that made them look like they were going to pop out of his soon as Earl entered, a smell that reminded me of rotting hamburger meat filled the air.

Ingrid was twelve, a month away from becoming a teenager and she had just met her soon-to-be stepfather.   Fortunately for her, she was a tough little cookie.  Earl was indeed a villain, whose villainy extended beyond Ingrid to her four siblings and even her mother.  He entered the family after Ingrid's mother divorced the children's father, a scheming, dreaming golden-tongued traveling salesman with a wandering eye, a fiery temper and a penchant for spending more time on the road than at home.  

A dilemma, it would seem, for a young girl with a pure heart who loved her mother despite her horrific choice of a new husband and who loved her father despite his unreliability and virtual abandonment of the family.  Yet, the choice was a no-brainer for Ingrid.   Here's how a blurb on her book's back cover presents this decision:

What would you do if your Mormon stepfather pinned you down and tried to cast Satan ouf of you?  For thirteen-year-old Ingrid, the answer is simple: RUN.

ingridricks Ingrid's autobiography, Hippie Boy, A Girl's Story, takes us with her during her early teens as she alternates between the nightmare of her life at home, where she lived while attending school, and the summertime "runs" with her dad on sales treks throughout the Midwest.

Time for a name check.  "Hippie Boy" is her dad's pet name for the clear favorite of his five children.   His name?  He's the other half of the duo in this excellent adventure, of course.

We see Ingrid's unrestrained adoration of Jerry through the eyes of the fairytale maiden in distress regarding her armored knight.  Her near worship dims only during momentary glimpses of her dad's obvious flaws, mainly his sudden volcanic losses of temper and his occasional selfish disregard for her feelings.  Her voice as a writer keeps to this almost childlike innocence, yielding barely noticeably to her incremental realization of the role inversion between her and her dad.  He regards her, patronizingly at first, as his business partner on the road.  As she wins his trust she assumes more and more responsibility, from navigating to scheduling and budgeting and eventually demonstrating effectively that she, too had the knack for selling.  

Ingrid's growing self reliance peaks during a frightening crisis that finds her alone in Tampico, Ill., with her dad in jail facing possible extradition to Texas on embezzlement charges, the fault of bad checks written by a former employee.  Here she brings to bear upon the county sheriff and later the local judge the same grit and pluck she'd drawn upon  at  home to keep Earl at bay.  She recognizes that suddenly hers and Jerry's roles are reversed and that she now is the rescuing knight.


  click on cover to order

Hippie Boy is the wrenching tale of a family caught in a maelstrom of life's misfortunes.  Its happy ending can be credited largely to the love and courage of a young woman who hitched her hopes to an unlikely champion and found an even unlikelier one along the way.

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I've been meaning to get this since it came out. Thanks for the reminder.
well good I do so enjoy a happy ending, especially with a plucky gal.
Casting Satan out of a girl is not a genteel move.
It is almost something Satan Himself might try, but I shall not venture into Theology..
(o okay..he would do it to reinforce the sense of ‘sin’ , which, ostensibly removed, would prey on our heroine’s mind & be his weapon for god knows what…it depends on how sick he is…..)

Dad is the hero? Yes? After false accusations? Good. I like the twist on the Christian Mythology.
Daddy incorporated as a faulted human, falsely accused, but rising to Fatherhood.
Sounds good!
If her book is even half as good as this review, she'll have a hit on her hands. Well done, Matt.

Thank you for the review, Matt. I have been meaning to purchase a copy of Ingrid's book.
Yes, what James said. Thank you Matt.
Oh Matt,there you go again.
You help people wherever you can.
Who is promoting YOU???
The book is really good.I bought it as an ebook,but I have to admit:I don't particularly like reading from the screen.
As always,Matt,your rewiew is excellent,and you know, I mean it.
What a fine review, Matt. Nothing to say, we'll just get the book. R
I checked the ranks and she is doing great. and good on you for doing this,.
I checked the ranks and she is doing great. and good on you for doing this,.
It was a terrific book. I knew I was emotionally involved when I had to stop reading because I was so furious at Earl.

I'm hoping she'll write a follow-up about what happened with her parents afterward.
Thanks, everyone. I've been offline over a week now while my laptop was on life support and a team of one expert did his damnedest to save the old warhorse. Alas, we decided doing whatever it might take to restore the motherboard and whatever else needed reviving would require me to pour enuf coins down the cyberhole to win me full membership in the Club of Fools, an organization that's carried me in an honorary capacity for way too long already. So I said a tearless goodbye to old Hesperus and bought a much newer used model that I'm still learning to ride and which will be challenging my limited keyboard skills for at least another week or so, I'm thinking.

Thanks for the welcome. I've been trying to catch up on my reading here but am still behind on that, as well. I'll keep at it. It's good to be back.
Sounds interesting. I wonder if I could get past Earl. He sounds like the stuff of nightmares.
[r] great review, great sounding book! libby
Sorry to hear about the old computer. I've missed you while you were gone.
Great review, Matt. Sounds like a "must read" for me!
Matt -- Thank you so much for this incredible, generous review. You've COMPLETELY made my day. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Matt -- Thank you so much for this incredible, generous review. You've COMPLETELY made my day. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Your "click on cover" feature is taking OS to new techno-sales heights.
Thank you all for your really kind words re: Hippie Boy. I've been so underwater the past month that finding personal time has been nearly impossible (didn't fully appreciate the full-time marketing job associated with a book.) I'm way behind on my OS reading. But am going to try to catch up a little each day until I'm back in full mode.

And Matt... I've still got your wonderful book (which I started reading and really enjoying before I got sucked into the void) waiting for me on my Kindle. I hope to get back to it soon. And if you ever want to further our conversation re: the whole KDP Select marketing, let m know.

P.S. Cranky Cuss...I am working on that next story. A little at a time. Thanks for the encouragement.
Thanks Matt for this excellent review and a reminder that I bought this book and never read it. Now, I have something to read as soon as I get my new glasses. :)
I am going to go write out and buy. . .oh no wait. I already did!

And I read it and it is as good as you said!

Excellent review Matt.
Your review is so timely -- I just saw this book today in a store window and admired the cover. I made a note to look it up when I got home. And here you are! (It's good to see you back online -- I noticed you were gone for a few days and I worried...not that I ever need a reason to worry...)
I know this is based on the real life story of this girl. I don't know if I could stand to read it though. Too much like some of the stuff I saw growing up. I wonder why women choose a worse stepfather for their kids rather than going it alone. Can they really need a man, any man, that much?
I loved this book! Thanks so much for such a well-written review of it - I hope it'll further spread the word about a great read!
Sounds interesting... another to add to my growing OS list.
What a great review, sounds like a fascinating story.
rated with love