Events in this book are about the author. The college setting is an accidental backdrop.
The book does not tell about the effect of significant, outside events on the Occidental College campus or among the students: Were there anti-War protests, demonstrations and writings on campus by teachers or students? What were the effects of rioting elsewhere? The author did not see Martin Luther King speak at Occidental College in 1967, but in less than a year Doctor King had been assassinated. Where there reactions about assassinations at Occidental? What did the administration do?
An odd fact out: I doubt if the yippies organized the 1967 Pentagon demonstration, as the author reports. This demonstration was inserted like other significant events: Tet, student riots, student politics campus to campus. Merely mentioning events does not tell what happened to anyone or to anything at Occidental College.
The author is loyal and devoted to Occidental. He identifies every class he had and every professor. But little is told about the teaching, the learning or the students action and growth of the author, or of other students. Everyone at Occidental was smart. They liked to drop names and supply authorities, venturing into German philosophy or onto someone’s newly discovered poem. The author’s favorite authorities were Thomas Wolfe – Electric Kool Air, etc – and Ayn Rand.
The author was awkward around girls, but the psychological diagnosis is incomplete. The reader does not learn if the trouble with women is the root cause of psychological disabilities, or merely one manifestation of other problems. Lots of pages are given to girlfriends (ambiguous suggestions of sex: Everyone was chaste at Occidental?), to mental issues, to eastern religions and to meaningless comments from persons or others in quotes.
For IRONY, try. On the back cover squirb, the author mentions that Barack Obama spent two years at Occidental College during the 1980s. Not mentioned is a state legislator, decades later always trying to please Obama, had a stretch of the 134 Freeway named after Obama. Those four miles, east of the 2-Freeway to Figueroa Avenue, is the route to the Scholl’s Canyon Dump.
Avoid this book.