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fascinating and honest,
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This review is from: Tripping the Bardo with Timothy Leary: My Psychedelic Love Story (Paperback)
No doubt Joanna Hartcourt-Smith has lived a life rather far removed from 'normal'. Grown up in jet set, money-aristocratic milieu. And telling a story that could sound like a Jackie Collins novel. Filled with sexual abuse - starting with her mother's chauffeur when she was 11 - a grandfather that killed her grandmother and got away with it and lots of aimless drinking, drug usage and money spending. But doing it with an honesty and integrity that lifts it far above just trivial sounding clichés.
In 1973 she hooked up with Timothy Leary who definitely knew how to 'score', telling Joanna that he ahd dreamed her up while in prison and that she was "the most intelligent woman in Europe". And initating her to the deeper aspects of LSD.
While Leary's own CONFESSIONS OF A HOPE FIEND "Learytells the story of his escape from jail and his time in Marocco Joanna's book continues from there meeting him during his stay in Switzerland. And following him on his hopeless and unrelaistic journey seeking refugee in Afghanistan.
From there on the story gets a nasty turn when Leary was 'kidnapped' and returned to jail and Joanna did all she could to get him free. Finally adopting the strategy of cooperation and turning snitches/informers. All done in a haze of drugs and sex. She could be called Hardcore-Smith. Apparently she never said no to any man at least not if he were powerful and influential enough. But also the many sexscenes are depicted in an honest way.
Even though she explicitly says she is not out to defame Leary he do come across as a person addicted to drugs and unable to rely on his inner strength without them. In the end selling out to save his life. After which he denounced both the hippie-movement, the sixties counter culture and the spiritual quest and spend the rest of his life as nothing more than an entertaining has-been.
A very interesting and well-written book that should be required reading for anyone interested in the turbulent and dreamy 60s. And for anyone who still believes Leary was innocent in the charges of snitchery.