In T.C. Boyle’s novel, the Drop City referred to in the title is a free love hippie commune in the 1970′s. The commune starts out in California where the hippies lounge about enjoying their lifestyle. After a run-in with the local law enforcement, they decide to move north to Alaska to start Drop City North on land that belongs to one of their uncles.
The book also follows the story of Sess and Pam Harder, two newlywed homesteaders living in the wilds of remote Alaska. The work together to make a home out of Sess’scabin. Pam & Sess were much more interesting than the hippies. I wish that Boyle had spent more of the book developing their characters.
Drop City offers up a sardonic social commentary about communal living. Is free love really all that free? Are the hippies sure they really want to be one with nature?
The start of the book really dragged for me. It took those hippies WAY too long to uproot their lives and move to Alaska. Things got much more interesting once they were in Alaska. Plus, in my opinion there were too many hippies whose stories Boyle was trying to relay. He could have picked just 2 or 3 to focus on instead of the 8 or 10 he did. Some of them just blended together in my mind.
Drop City was a National Book Award finalist and was included on the list of books in the original edition of 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die.