Growing Up Dead: The Hallucinated Confessions of a Teenage Deadhead

January 01, 1970

(Da Capo Press)

 

www.dacapopress.com

 

BY JOHN DWORKIN

 

Categorizing Peter Conners’ Growing Up Dead: The Hallucinated
Confessions of a Teenage Deadhead
is like trying to pigeonhole The Grateful
Dead themselves: difficult and not very useful. It’s part memoir, journalism,
sociology, history, and drug culture exposé. But mainly Conners has written a
heartfelt, entertaining, and appropriately scattered coming of age story. If
the book were a film (and man, could it ever be!) it’d be co-directed by
Cameron Crowe and Richard Linklater, and would play like Dazed And Confused meets Almost Famous – but in Conners’ screenplay William Miller takes acid and
smokes weed.

 

Covering the years 1987-1992 (age 16-21), Conners weaves in and out of
three general approaches in describing his experiences: Academic, prankster
deadhead, and personal/confessional. He is at turns a social theorist, rock
history geek, lyrics dropper, counterculture analyzer, fan, tripping balls
new-age freak, and insecure boyfriend. But he’s also a poet having fun turning
phrases like “urban indifference,” “hippie bureaucracy,” or his hilarious and
insightful description of the mind’s state during an acid trip as “post verbal.”

 

Anyone who’s been enamored with The Grateful Dead, even for a short
time, will be able to closely relate. Conners’ descriptions of his memories act
upon the reader as flashes of light illuminating buried memories. They may have
you laughing out loud; or sometimes just grinning from the recognition of
truth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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