Note: If you want to see reviews at Amazon, go look at 'em.
Note 1: Here's another review the dumb motherfuckers at Amazon didn't stick up. G.
'Ginny Good' review, July 19, 2018
I may hold the record for how many times I've read 'Ginny Good' but with the Audio/Visual for the first time, this book I've enjoyed reading over the years goes from a Really Good to a Great experience for me. You have to get this Audio/Visual so you can actually hear the voice of the author Gerard Jones and the inflections that gives you so much more understanding than the words alone. Hearing the music that connects the feeling of the times lets you remember how it was to live during the times of the '60's.' Visually seeing the pictures of the people, the times, the places, puts you there as if you were part of it.
My advice is to get the Audio/Visual and along with the book, you will more than enjoy the '60's' experience again, or to bring a new experience to those of you who have only heard about them.
If you are from Royal Oak, Michigan as I am, and one of many in Gerard Jones' graduating class in 1960, even to have myself moved to the San Francisco Bay area during these times, and sadly to say understand what it was to spend a large part of life loving an alcoholic, you'll more than 'get' this great read. Also let me mention the reference to Mrs. Miller. She flunked Gerard which I think was a mistake, he's way smart enough, just spoiled. Mrs. Miller however was my favorite teacher. I hate remembering extensive history dates, who cares except maybe the year, so I cheated and put sticky notes with dates on the desk in front of me. Mrs. Miller kept me after class one day and said, "I know your cheating, I don't know how you are, but I don't think you have to." Boom, I never cheated again and got an A+ in Senior Government. Gerard now says if he had been Mrs. Miller he would have flunked his ass too, but he'll never convince me there wasn't a better alternative. We learned valuable lessons from Mrs. Miller, those of us who stayed awake in class which Gerard says he did but with his eyes closed. Sure. Mrs. Millers lessons included "Never believe what you read as someone else will be writing just the opposite, and only believe half of what you actually see." Maybe Gerard wasn't asleep as he quotes that in the book. "Never trust a politician as most are self-serving." Wow! "History always repeats itself especially in government." Some things never change no matter the years. Double Wow!
We all had pretty much led good disciplined and somewhat innocent lives up to turning eighteen in 1960. Some like Gerard with way too much testosterone but he was so cute, he was more than ready for the life of living the times of the rest of the 60's in San Francisco. If you lived them too you'll remember the 'Times of Love' and why so many young people were searching for it. You'll feel part of the 'Horrors of Vietnam' the people of the 60's tried to live with, and why describing it was only possible with the four letter word 'F', so don't be offended in its use, as those senseless times were not describable any other way. If you didn't live in the 60's, you will reading this book. I will continue my reads of 'Ginny Good' again some day soon I hope, but now with my Audio/Visual which has made such a big difference. If you want an Audio/Visual, ask GJ how to get one. Thank you again GJ for your many kindnesses.
Note 2: Here's a review Amazon didn't stick up...don't ask me why...maybe 'cause Jeff Bezos is the dipshit of the universe. G.
Review of Ginny Good by Gerard Jones, June 27, 2010
Don't let any negative reviews, apparently written by candy-ass cretins with rose-colored contacts screwed into their eyeballs, keep you from inhaling this most excellent book.
Ginny Good is by far the best thing I've read in a long, long time. I couldn't put it down.
Few American lives are stranger, more action-packed, or wilder than the life of Gerard Jones, who lived in the San Francisco area during the Vietnam War, and the parallel scene going on over in the Haight-Ashbury district.
Uproarious and unpredictable, this oral biography chronicles in a wonderful prose style the turbulent life of Jones in all of its uncensored glory: the creative frenzies, the love affairs, the drugs and booze and fights and police arrests and ultimately, tragic suicides.
The main character, Ginny Good just happens to be the first hippy. I found it especially refreshing to recall the hippy lifestyle; eat healthy, do yoga, take care of the earth (What happened to these grand ideas? If the hippies would have stayed the course, maybe the gulf wouldn't have big blobs of oil in it right now?)
Ginny Good was bright and beautiful; much like the book cover, an ethereal flower in the blue sky. Ginny was also bat-shit crazy. Being in a room with Ginny Good was like trying to light a firecracker in your hand and calculating how fast to throw it before it blows up. Some people like playing with fire and the author obviously did. Ginny Good was also the sister of Charlie Manson girl Sandra Good. God threw that one in just for good measure.
Gerard Jones always told Ginny he'd write a book about her and he did. An awesome book, a triumph for her and the author as well. Where ever Ginny is right now, I know she is smiling. I know she is very proud of this little gem of a book.
Aww. That was sweet. Thanks! G.
Note 3: Here are some other Amazon reviews I liked:
December 20, 2009
A good friend raved about a book called GINNY GOOD, written by somebody named Gerard Jones. On his recommendation I purchased it from Amazon. I was so impressed with the writing that I went to Jones website and learned he had a hard time getting this work into print. I'm glad he kept trying, because his struggle has given us a remarkable memoir/novel. This book was so exceptional I read it all the way through and never once touched my Blackberry.
Let me advise you that there is something magical and illuminating about GINNY GOOD, but, in opposition to the luminescence there are many dark passages. The narrative voice is generous, humane, and full of humor. You have to go back quite a few years to find a book to compare it to. There's a certain tone that reminds me of Salinger, which is a purely emotional response. My opinion is hardly defensible because Salinger is an elitist who managed to appeal to a large audience, and Jones is a writer whose work was informed by such great literary populists as Henry Miller and L. F. Celine. GINNY GOOD should appeal to the reading masses, but it was put out by a small press and I don't think it was ever promoted or reviewed by important publications like the New York Times.
The creative writing teachers will tell you it's not wise to kill off two of your major characters, but Jones does it in GINNY GOOD and manages to make it work, which is indicative of his writing chops. This book has stayed with me and I believe it will appeal to a lot of people, even the people who complain about the quality of US writing.
February 15, 2014
I first came across references to Ginny Good in an article about how the Internet has changed publishing practice. Then I discovered the author's website, everyonewhosanyone.com and downloaded a free audio version of the book recorded by the author and interspersed with wonderful choices of music. I liked everything, the author?s gravelly voice, his jokes and witty sides, the story itself. So I bought the book on Amazon.
I'm giving the book a 5-star rating for three reasons. First, it's one of the best books about the sixties I've ever read. Second, it's also beautifully written. Third, there is the story itself. I want to expand on those three reasons a little.
First, the sixties. There has been a lot written about what the 60's really meant, whether the culture of the sixties was a "good" or "bad" thing, whether the sixties initiated greater social and personal freedom or were just a period of mere hedonism that left no long-term traces. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to know what it was really like to live through this period. The book shows what happens to a small group of friends caught in the maelstrom of the period. They explore drugs, sex, rock and roll, mysticism, and communes. They have casual encounters with people who were either already famous or destined to become so in the future. One aspect of this period that I found surprising and delightful was how much people read in those days. The heroine, Ginny Good, reads Lawrence Durrell's The Alexandria Quartet aloud to the narrator. There are references in the book to Tolkien, R.D. Laing, Thomas Mann, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky and many other writers. This book deserves a place in every university library for its authentic evocation of the social history.
Now I want to talk about the writing and the story. The author has a feisty, very light touch and offers some excellent one-liners. The style is so light that sometimes the reader does not notice how skillful it is. He can summarize a character's personality in a line or two, as this description of Ginny Good shows:
"Her father sadly loaded his books and his golf clubs and his stamp collection into the trunk of the second car and drove away two days before Ginny's fifth Christmas and left the sound of the car driving away reverberating in her brain and rumbling through the pit of her stomach for the rest of her life."
Ginny Good is beautiful, charismatic, and the victim of seasonal descents into drinking and folly. The book centers on the narrator's attempts to survive her bouts of uncontrolled promiscuity, to rescue her from the absurd but dangerous situations she throws herself into. He is the only one who can "manage" her during her periods of psychotic breakdown.
"It breaks my heart still after all these years to know what Ginny would have been if she hadn't been such a schizophrenic drunk. She would have been a god damn icon. She would have had followers, worshippers, acolytes, an entourage. She would have given Zelda Fitzgerald and Anais Nin and Isadora Duncan and Josephine Baker a run for their money in the memorable chick department. She was the first hippie, for one thing. I've mentioned that. Yeah, well, she was. I have proof. Documentary evidence. You could look it up."
The book reads like a comic novel, and it is only as the events build up to various moments of crisis that the reader understands that beneath his own tears of laughter there are tears of quite another kind. One of the characters, Elliot, describes a mystic experience. His description of that is also a very good description of the reader's emotional reactions to the story being told.
"'There's nothing to get," he said. 'That's the point. It was just a feeling. Laughing. Crying. Both. Neither. It was so stupid and tragic and sad and funny at the same time that I had about ten different kinds of tears in my eyes.'"
This is an outstanding book. I can't recommend it too highly.