Reader Responses

“Dear Mr. Hayes, Thank you so damn much for sending me your powerful book. I read it as quickly as I could. It’s truly a fucking amazing piece of writing. Words kind of fail me but here are some perhaps cliché ones: heartbreaking, funny, painful, brutal, honest, beautiful and true. I’m a bit older than you but a bit younger than your mother and step-father but I knew the world you describe in the book to some extent. I started playing music in various southern California biker bars at a young age (including the Corral) and your description of that scene was spot on. As were your wonderful words about growing up in the wild and beautiful hills/mountains of California. Perhaps the best, and most painful writing, though, was about your family and how complicated, maddening and yet simple love can be. It’s not only a great California memoir but a great universal one. Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you for sending your book to me and, more importantly, thank you for writing it.”

Dave Alvin
   Grammy award-winning guitarist and singer-songwriter


“I was quickly hooked and kept wanting to hear more.” Full Review

“His stories are by turns heartbreaking, funny, brutal, and ridiculous, but always true; nothing here comes off as ornamented or put-upon for the sake of a better tale. Highly recommended for anyone wanting a better understanding of the seventies, fathers and sons, or, as the title promises with typical understatement, other complications.” Full Review

“The result is not simply self-psychoanalysis, but good authorship… I read this book and almost missed getting off the bus twice, as I was so transfixed.” Full Review

“His facts put fiction to shame, but then old family fabrications raise their heads, creating a wobbly line between the two… it’s a rollicking ride through a reckless era that’s entertainment for us, likely cathartic for him, and should definitely not be missed.” Full Review

“Though shocking real-world violence is present in multiple phases of this story it never veers into a sermon or treatise… It just gives the reader a colorful picture of a distinct, interesting life…” Full Review

“The stories were entertaining, compelling and, at times, moving. It takes courage to tell such a personal story but Hayes does it with grace and honesty.” Full Review

“Hats off to Carl Hayes, who has chronicled a certain California life for the rest of us, and not only lived to tell the tale, but thrived in the telling.” Full Review

“It is a very wonderful story, quite a page turner… reminded me a lot of my own childhood in the seventies. With some horrible stories to have had to grow up with and a collection of interviews with his Dad, this is really an interesting read! Kudo’s! Loved this book!” Full Review

“Through humor and a tell-it-like-it-was style, Carl Hayes asked for no pity but for a reader who can understand that the baggage we carry doesn’t always define us but sometimes explains us.” Full Review