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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A memorable evocation of a rootless childhood
I thought I wouldn't like this at first, but actually it was really good. I think the title does it a real disservice because it sounds so ridiculous. Once you know what it means, it makes sense, but when you first pick up a book, the title shouldn't be so off-putting, should it?

That aside, this is a very subtle piece of writing. The child's point of view is...
Published on 5 Mar 2011 by moby-dick

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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A delightful, light read, showing the ingenuity of children.
Hideous Kinky is a delightful story of a young hippy mother travelling to Morocco with two young children to find herself. She seems oblivious to their needs, considering her search for enlightment and personal freedom of paramont importance.
Through the eyes of the youngest daughter we see, feel and smell Morocco. The children are caught up with the day to day,...
Published on 22 Jan 2001 by trumak1004@aol.com


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A memorable evocation of a rootless childhood, 5 Mar 2011
This review is from: Hideous Kinky (Paperback)
I thought I wouldn't like this at first, but actually it was really good. I think the title does it a real disservice because it sounds so ridiculous. Once you know what it means, it makes sense, but when you first pick up a book, the title shouldn't be so off-putting, should it?

That aside, this is a very subtle piece of writing. The child's point of view is strictly adhered to, so no interpretation of events is offered. Yet the reader is given plentiful evidence of the child's increasing distress and grief over the rootlessness and disorganisation of the life to which the mother exposes her. She is too young to be able to separate herself from her mother (as the slightly older sister is forced to do), so she has to just cling on and try to survive.

From the feminist point of view, this book is full of ironies. The mother has gone off on her own to 'find' herself, yet she is still economically dependent on men - and her daughters' habit of searching for any men that they feel might rescue them is proof that this dependence is being passed on to the next generation. Their lives are lived in the suspension of waiting ... either for the father to send them money, or some one or other of their mother's male acquaintances and boyfriends to supply their material and emotional needs.

This is a fascinating exploration that manages to chart the awakening of consciousness of the late sixties/early seventies, while also showing how the economic shackles of the past prevented any real achievement of freedom for women. In the end, the children are burdened with the results of their mother's apparently impotent and futile struggle for independence.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entralling read, but what happened to Marreta?, 31 May 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Hideous Kinky (Paperback)
I loved this book, it was fresh and intersesting with a gentle (but never dull) plotline. The people involved were sympathetic and different, and writing from a child's point of view made the book a lot less pretentious than it could so easily have been. However, there were many loose ends which weren't tied up. Characters simply came and went, and although I unerstand that things sometimes seem that way when you're five years old, one also ends up yearning to know what happened to Marreta and her body lice, or to their friend Danny. But I suppose neat endings don't really fit in with the lifestyle portrayed in this book. An innovative take on the hackneyed 'road movie' style of fiction, and immensely enjoyable with it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars hideously wonderful!!, 22 Jun 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Hideous Kinky (Paperback)
I actually read this book out of interest because of all the hype about the film based on it and i was pleasently suprised. It wasn't action packed but never the less it was a 'kind' book, well written with a fantastic setting and made you read on just because you wondered what would happen next. Not the best book i've read but nice.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A delightful, light read, showing the ingenuity of children., 22 Jan 2001
This review is from: Hideous Kinky (Paperback)
Hideous Kinky is a delightful story of a young hippy mother travelling to Morocco with two young children to find herself. She seems oblivious to their needs, considering her search for enlightment and personal freedom of paramont importance.
Through the eyes of the youngest daughter we see, feel and smell Morocco. The children are caught up with the day to day, searching for food, mixing with street children and market people, all of whom are desparately trying to stay alive in a very harsh climate and society.
Throughout their adventures these children find fun, entertainment and magic and do not see the dangers their mother has placed them in. They are delightfully open and easy with the people they meet.
As time goes by however the children begin to desire a return to security, family and normality. Seeing routine - school, homework, and of course some of the pleasures of the West, Christmas presents and ice cream.
Perfect reading for the tube, bus or before falling asleep.
A pleasant story, simple and uncomplicated. A complete contrast to the morbid, graphic, black humour of Angela's Ashes, with it's gritty accuracy and depressing reality of a Catholic, Irish upbringing.
This is a story of a middle class mother and her children, playing at adventure, with the ultimate security of a middle class family to turn to at times of difficulties.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How times have changed!!, 14 April 2009
This review is from: Hideous Kinky (Paperback)
This day and age travelling to Morocco wouldn't be such a big thing but in the early 70's it must have been the 'in' thing to do!

Morocco was a mecca for the hippy trail and could be enjoyed by the middle classes without much hassle. In the story (which is part autobiographical) the mother was able to rely on money being wired from England, presumably by her husband, to keep the happy little band together. These things of necessity are overlooked as the book is being narrated through the eyes of a 5 year old child. Their regular 'scrapings of majoun' and the apparant neglect of their mother are told straight out of babes' mouths.

An interesting tale as told from a time some 30 odd years ago.

this book is also on the 1001 books to read before you die list.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Esther Freud, growing up, 13 Mar 2012
This review is from: Hideous Kinky (Paperback)
This little book is about growing up with a hippie mother who feels as though her life is incomplete, and therefore must travel to one of the most cliché religious destination in the world (Marrakech), ruining her daughter's childhood in the process. It's a sad experience if viewed through an objective point of view, but to her daughter, young Esther Freud, it's more like changing schools; the narration is simple and straight-forward, as though the author is reliving those scenes through a child's point of view. Dubious events, like the strange men that keep appearing to accompany her mother, are never questioned, and everything is like a game to her. It's quite an unorthodox point of view, but it teaches us to take everything that's happening to us and see it in a different light; it's a more innocent and happy-go-lucky point of view, yes, but one that ultimately leads to bliss.
Highly recommended book!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unconvincing, 27 Aug 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Hideous Kinky (Paperback)
I really liked the *idea* of this book, having bought it in a charity shop out of curiosity when I saw on the cover that it had been nominated for some fiction prize or other.
I had high expectations, but found the book very light, even airy. Nothing wrong with this I suppose, though it isn't enough for me.
My main problem with the book was that I did not feel convinced for a second that the narrator was a young child. Perhaps if the narrator had been around nine, I could have accepted that, but not so young a child as we were supposed to believe. It was certainly an adult's writing and adults' vocabulary, with the occasional injection of childlike sensibility, when the author remembered.
The sense of place was a little stronger, and I associate the book now with rich colour, but little else stayed with me, certainly not characters.
I read this book quickly, and was relieved to finish it, wishing that a much better writer had tackled the same story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marrakech hasn't changed!, 3 Jun 2009
By 
J. Wood (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hideous Kinky (Paperback)
I read this on a recent trip to Marrakech and thought it was a lovely story... no real ground breaking conclusion to it but i definitely found it an enjoyable read and much better than many of these reviews suggest! The narration was enchanting. I would certainly recommend it as a relaxed holiday read and it's also great as background for Marrakech - nothing has changed except for the peasant girls running through the main square are now wearing crocs, not barefoot!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable for 5, 9 Feb 2013
This review is from: Hideous Kinky (Paperback)
This book is supposedly being narrated by a 5 year old girl. I didn't find that believable at all, even taking into account the author's own background of intellectual privilege- and her gene pool. I also found the whole thing a little bit dull, which is a shame- there was no sense of drama, it read more like a list. As such, plot was hard to find and I couldn't really get wrapped up in it. Maybe other people would enjoy the exotic feel to it- exotic poverty??!- but as I've been to Morocco many times it didn't capture my attention.

There are some redeeming features. The relationship between the narrator and her elder sister (who is 7) is expressed well. There are a few background characters who are very interesting. But the problem is that because the whole thing is being told by a very young girl, there are huge holes in the story. She is not privy to much information and as a consequence neither is the reader.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars On the Hippie Trail, 14 Feb 2012
By 
Kate Hopkins (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Hideous Kinky (Paperback)
Freud's first novel: the story of two small girls travelling in Morocco with their hippie mother, who is searching for enlightenment. The unnamed four-year-old narrator and her composed older sister Bea scour the streets of Marrakesh for food, playmates and kindly men who might help to bring some order and prosperity to their lives while their mother meditates, flirts with Islam and Sufism and periodically indulges in a relationship with the handsome young Moroccan Bilal. There are trips to monasteries and to the countryside, a brief period of panic when Bea - left in Marrakesh while her mother and younger sister go on a pilgrimage - goes missing, lively encounters with locals and fellow hippies, and, eventually, a decision to return to the UK. The descriptions of Morocco are absolutely superb - one really feels there with the family. Freud also brings her four-year-old narrator to life well, showing both her lively interest in the world and her vulnerability - she suffers from nightmares about a mysterious force called 'The Black Hand'. And the relationship between the two sisters was well depicted. The book was extremely enjoyable as a lightish read. For me (unlike some of Freud's later books) it didn't go much further than that. I personally felt that it was a slight mistake to give neither the mother nor the younger daughter names - for some odd reason it always makes it harder to care about people - and I'd have liked to know more about the family background, and why the mother was so keen to come to Marrakesh. The mother remained a somewhat inscrutable figure throughout, which could at times get a bit frustrating (the film, which had to give her a name and bring her a bit more to the forefront of the action, worked better in this respect). All in all, an enjoyable and recommended read - but I felt Freud has become more subtle, and ultimately more interesting in her later novels.
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Hideous Kinky
Hideous Kinky by Esther Freud
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