Thrust into adulthood at sixteen by her mother’s sudden death, Ilene English flies to San Francisco on a one-way ticket—a graduation gift from her idolized big sister, Carole—and leaves New Jersey behind forever. It is 1963, and upon her arrival in California, she becomes completely immersed in the unfolding of the ’60s counterculture—and into a lifestyle way beyond anything she’s ready for. In the ensuing years, English lives many lives—first drawn into the world of jazz, free love, and psychedelic drugs in San Francisco; then moving to Hawaii to be close to Carole who, pregnant by artificial insemination, simultaneously develops a fatal disease. Before Carole dies at twenty-eight, she asks English to promise to take her baby as her own. English solemnly promises, but after Carole’s death, the baby is taken from her and given away. Alone and grappling with overwhelming grief, she meets her future husband while tripping on acid. They eventually marry and have a child, only to split up when their baby is eighteen months old. A deeply personal story of how one woman manages to survive, and eventually to thrive, in the face of the whirlwind of experiences coming at her, Hippie Chick is about discovering that even though painful experiences deeply affect us, beneath the pain, and at our core, we remain whole and intact.