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on 3 July 2009
There I was, down in the basement of Seed Restaurant in the psychedelic Sixties, dishing up the first organically grown natural foods to ever grace a British restaurant table. It was the cool place to eat, and the cream (and the whey) of the `underground' scene came through; one felt immense pride to be introducing them to wholesome living. That is, until Frances Lynn's book Frantic came into my hands.

Now I realize that once off-premises, many of my loyal customers proceeded to do everything possible to counter-balance their healthful experience at Seed, ingesting things that were definitely not macrobiotic and engaging in decidedly unwholesome behaviour. How could they! The brown rice obviously wasn't `speaking' to them.

Sure they had fun, and Frances spares no details in her rich and fulsome recounting of the wilder side of London and San Francisco in the late 60's/early 70's, so much so that I feel like I was there - and I was, but now know what part of "there" I was missing out upon. But at what price, the fun? After reading her book, I am not sure whether to feel left out of the action, or smug that I spent that time chewing each mouthful a hundred times. I can feel both.

Thank the muses; Frances unbelievably survived to tell the tale, managing to do so without glorifying her colourful characters. I'd rather laugh at their faults and foibles than feel sad for them, recognizing that had they got with the wholesome programme then Frances may never have written her very entertaining book. Would the world be a poorer place thereby?
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on 30 July 2007
Welcome to the world of sex, drugs, and disintegration. Frantic chronicles the crazy journey of Alice, an English girl, who somehow survives the insanity of the drug circles in San Francisco and London during the early seventies. There are many off-the-wall moments in Frantic, and Frances Lynn captures them with superb humor and amazing clarity.

Alice, like Alice in Wonderland, is on a trip. There are many colorful characters along the way. But there are many pitfalls as well, including trips to the mental hospital and attempted murder. I would say more but I don't want to give anything away.

Alice is a character that is very likeable, due to her resilience, passion, and knack for seeing through people. Lynn exposes the shallowness and general attitude problems of her characters, while at the same time rendering them in a vulnerable desperate state. There's something ominous in the air which becomes more and more apparent as you read on. Yet, I still found myself laughing through these moments.

Frances Lynn, who also wrote the book Crushed, is an extremely witty writer, whose character descriptions are unlike any that I have read before. They are often merciless, but they are not cold blooded assassinations. There's a ring of truth to them, which is what makes them so funny. Regardless, I would hate to be at the receiving end of Frances's pen.

Frantic is a great story that I highly recommend. Even for those who did not live through that period, this book will entertain you simply because it's such a spirited and hilarious ride.
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on 24 May 2010
In 'Frantic' we follow Alice, a naive English girl, aching to rebel against her posh upbringing, as she descends into a glittery hell peopled with dangerous grotesques and dusted with white powder.

After sharpening her claws on the butt end of the sixties, author Frances Lynn tears into the seventies' alternative scene with glee, exposing the hypocrisy, shallowness and sad junkie lifestyles of the 'beautiful people'. However, this is not just a novel about sex, drugs and rock n' roll; it's a novel filtered through them. So the reader gets to enjoy vivid acid tinged prose, and riotous cartoon depictions of San Francisco and London. At times, the style is reminiscent of counter-culture icons William S. Burroughs and Robert Anton Wilson, but with a fairy-tale sweetness neither of those authors have.

Fans of Frances Lynn's "Crushed", will recognise the same storytelling skills but may be shocked at the unbridled content. Freed from the constraints of writing for a teen audience, the author can display the the sharp wit which made her Britain's bitchiest columnist.

Like Alice says: "Wowee Zowee!"
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on 13 January 2013
Funny, fast, furious! you won't be able to put it down. Epitomising the spirit of the seventies Frantic had me in it's grip from page one right through to it's finale. True to it's title it is far far more than just a gentle wander down Memory Lane or brief reflection and backwards glance towards the lost and distant land of youth and chance. As an experience, Frantic is total, much more than simply a fascinating tale of life in the seventies, the story of a young girl who discovers and loses herself to a lifestyle defined by sex drugs and rock and roll, and yet, somehow, still retains a kind of innocence. It's wit is one of its greatest qualities, but there is also an underlying wisdom - Whether or not you grew up in the seventies this book will have you hooked!
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on 7 December 2012
Frances was there, she knows all and tells all! I was lucky enough to work with Frances on the now-defunct but, in its day, cool London magazine 'Ritz' where she was the indefatigable party girl and gossip columnist. She never missed a trick (though I missed too many!) and had enough nous to write it all down. 'Frantic' is big fun and deserves not only to be read as a smart, sassy novel but as an authentic record of high (in every sense!)times on both sides of the transatlantic sidewalk. By the way, the Celia Birtwell cover is faboo. Great to see this novel Kindled for a whole new readership.
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on 10 December 2012
I first read this book when it was originally published, and have re-read it as a Kindle edition. I just love it! If you want to know what the hedonistic seventies looked, felt, and smelled like, this is how it was, in all its madcap reality. They say that if you remember the sixties you weren't there. The same goes for Frances Lynn's seventies, but fortunately she wrote it all down at the time. This is the result. It's brilliant.
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on 17 October 2006
In 'Frantic' we follow Alice, a naive English girl, aching to rebel against her posh upbringing, as she descends into a glittery hell peopled with dangerous grotesques and dusted with white powder.

After sharpening her claws on the butt end of the sixties, author Frances Lynn tears into the seventies' alternative scene with glee, exposing the hypocrisy, shallowness and sad junkie lifestyles of the 'beautiful people'. However, this is not just a novel about sex, drugs and rock n' roll; it's a novel filtered through them. So the reader gets to enjoy vivid acid tinged prose, and riotous cartoon depictions of San Francisco and London. At times, the style is reminiscent of counter-culture icons William S. Burroughs and Robert Anton Wilson, but with a fairy-tale sweetness neither of those authors have.

Fans of Frances Lynn's "Crushed", will recognise the same storytelling skills but may be shocked at the unbridled content. Freed from the constraints of writing for a teen audience, the author can display the the sharp wit which made her Britain's bitchiest columnist.

Like Alice says: "Wowee Zowee!"
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on 2 November 2006
From heroin to Lithium and back again..before finally arriving in a village called Sanity on the other side of Blissland.

There may be some survivors out there who could enjoy the powerful regression therapy this book has to offer.

An informative read for would-be celebrity hunters, historians, people with various degrees of bipolar disorder, mental healthcare workers and most of all, pre-teens who want to give their grandparents a heart attack.

Unless those grandparents belong to the afore-mentioned survivor group, in which case I suggest they get extra copies of FRANTIC to form a domestic study circle.

It's so full of visuals that reading it becomes like watching a movie. A fast and funny reading experience which left me wondering and pondering about what happened to all of us who lived through that purple haze era.
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on 14 June 2010
I enjoyed follwong Alice through the various scenes and happenings. I laughed out loud in places and enjoyed the bouncy humourous nature of the book. Every time the character of Brent appeared I had this image of an Alan Rickman/Richard.E.Grant (Withnail) type slinking across the page. It was a blurry ride that suited it's subject matter perfectly. You really got the feeling from reading it that you were going somehow wake up at a party on the floor, with the world spinning, if you dared put the book down. It had an Alice in Wonderland feel to me becuase of how Alice came across a sequence bizarre characters, holding court and having witty tete a tetes, and how one scene would melt into another.
I really enjoyed it and I'd happily read another :)
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on 7 December 2012
This is a great read,harks back to those crazy days where we did what we liked with no health and safety to inhibit us. couldn't put it down and now it's on Kindle. Great Christmas present!
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