Free Spirit: Growing Up On the Road and Off the Grid

021414_mishmash_bookBy Joshua Safran
Hyperion, 288 pages

“Free Spirit” is an autobiography of a boy raised by a mother whose main quest is to change modern society 10 years after the hippie movement of the 1960s. She believed that government and corporations were corrupt and needed to be stopped and was always in search of a group that would help her accomplish her mission.

Safran spent his childhood “off the grid,” living from place to place in buses, desolate cabins and communes without modern conveniences such as running water or electricity. He and his mother lived mostly on welfare and meager earnings from his mother’s occasional odd jobs. He was home schooled by his mother and didn’t regularly attend school until age 12, when his upbringing made him a target for bullies.

Although there were people who influenced him along the way, most of Safran’s childhood was filled with neglect and abuse. For many years, he witnessed the severe physical and mental abuse of his mother by one of her husbands.

I do not like books that deal with abuse, so the harsh life and abuse the author endured made this story hard to get through. Safran never caught a break, and I agonized with him though his journey.

But that is what made this story and Safran so inspirational. Despite adversity, Safran joined society and lived the real American dream. As the phoenix rose from the ashes, Safran became more successful than he could have ever dreamed.

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