My Generation: A Memoir of the Baby Boom
Cougar Webworks (2019)
Reviewed by Ashley Hooker for Reader Views (06/2021)
Nowick Gray has written a memoir that only a special generation can appreciate. He has entitled the book “My Generation,” which is fitting. He was born into what today we call the baby boom. This was the time after WWII when all the men came home, and a population increase was underway. The world had changed, and the baby boomers became a generation that embraced a life starkly different than what their parents had imagined.
Gray begins his story with a fantastic explanation of what families in this era were like. He talks about his parents and what their American dream was. His dad had served in WWII as a fighter pilot and later became a businessman. Gray’s mother did what most women were doing, keeping the home in order, raising children, and supporting her husband. Nowick continues telling us about his time at Dartmouth where sex, drugs, and alcohol were the main studies. He shares his association with the Quaker religion, his experiences teaching in Inuit villages in Canada, his odd relationship with his wife Jeanne, and when his passion for nature became intensified.
The life of Nowick Gray before 1984 was filled with similar experiences of other young people then. Drugs like LSD, marijuana, and mushrooms were available and popular. The sexual revolution was dawning and intensified as time went on. An entire generation was experiencing the effects of the Vietnam War and realizing that at any moment, life could be wiped away with one atom bomb.
Reviewing this book was slightly difficult because I am not a baby boomer. I am woman in her thirties. At times I found the story disjointed and myself unable to follow along. I did not understand some of the experiences Gray discussed. For example, the relationship he had with his wife Jeanne was ridiculous to me. The open marriage and lack of emotional attachment would have been enough for me to say goodbye.
What I learned after finishing the book was that life was completely different then. The experiences of the baby boomers were unique to their generation as my experiences are unique to my generation. I also found myself rekindling the emotions I have for nature. I found myself rooting for Gray to find love and peace in his life.
While I had my difficulties reading Gray’s memoir, I would still recommend it to anyone who was a baby boomer or had parents who were baby boomers. This generation continues to be unique and has a lot to teach us about the world we live in today.