Blue Jean Baby Review
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As a kid in elementary school in the mid-‘60s, I was so jealous of the girls who were old enough to go to rock concerts, and I was especially envious of those who actually got to meet band members. Of course, I was too young and naïve to realize what that all entailed. Sally Parmer was one girl who I would have died to be. However, I was reminded of how exciting and troublesome the decade was as I read Blue Jean Baby: One Girl’s Trip Through the 1960s L.A. Music Scene, in which she spares no details in describing her life as an under-aged groupie.

Sally idolized musicians, since they made the music that provided an escape from her boring life and from the emotional abuse that she endured at home. At only 14 years old, Sally and her friends “stalked” British musicians who were in town after ingeniously finding out where they were staying. It didn’t hurt that she looked older, was tall and thin with long dark hair, and was often mistaken for Cher. Sally eventually became a “Canyon Girl,” hanging out in Laurel Canyon, where famous musicians lived or stayed while in town. This included all of the sex, partying, and drugs that went along with it. As she came of age and left home, she encountered a new set of problems.

Sally tells us what the “Summer of Love” was all about and talks about the national events that changed her perception of the world. Will Gen-X and Y’ers appreciate this? I think so, as Sally doesn’t assume that everyone knows the conditions of the time and the essentials that we take for granted today. She explains the differences fully. For instance, reliable birth control wasn’t available, and, subsequently, girls had to drive down to Mexico to get abortions. Also, the terms “child abuse” and “domestic violence” didn’t exist. They were conditions that children and women learned to endure.

Sally gives the actual names of the musicians she met, while creating a fascinating though accurate picture of 1960s Los Angeles. I’m often hesitant to read books of an autobiographical nature, as they tend to include minute details of a person’s life and attempt to draw pity from the reader, but Sally doesn’t fall into this trap. She only includes the events in her and her friends’ lives that are relevant to the story. Surprisingly, she also writes with a great amount of objectivity and not from nostalgia. She notes the good with the bad as it concerns her, those she knows, and the era itself.

I was so absorbed by this book that I found it difficult to put it down. Whether you actually survived the ‘60s or are just fascinated with this time in cultural history, Blue Jean Baby is a must-read.

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