Hippy Days and Arabian Nights is a memoir written by Katherine Boland. I had not heard of this author before, and this is her first book, her usual medium being painting.
The book follows her life as a youngster growing up, and then rebelling against mainstream society in the 70s and living a ‘hippy’ life on a self-sufficient property in NSW. Katherine describes the beauty and the battle to live this life for 3 decades beautifully. Living with nature, making and growing by her and her families own hand, and the relationships they developed throughout. Katherine then leaves and lives in the city before finding herself in Egypt where she finds love with a young Egyptian man.
I found the book to be in two halves, each very different to the other. The first half is about her values as a person, living with family, fulfilling her dreams and being aware of others and the environment. I found the second half to be selfish, completely lost from values and focused on making herself feel good about decisions and lifestyle. The style of writing even appears to change and Katherine details sexual adventures and her own ego instead of what she is seeing and feeling. One of the last pages, designed to be describing her love for her Egyptian man states, ‘but I know that I was truly loved by Gamal’. To me this highlights the self-obsession she permeates through the second half of the book.
I really enjoyed this book – it’s easy to read and shows how different paths can lead us to polar opposite lives from those we imagined for ourselves. Katherine has had some lovely experiences and has made focused decisions on her lifestyle and choices. Made me think about my choices and how we just go with the flow and do what is expected, and that some of us are privileged enough to have a choice whether we accept this or not!