cover image Paradise Burning

Paradise Burning

Chris Simunek. St. Martin's Griffin, $12.95 (192pp) ISBN 978-0-312-18753-8

As its cultivation editor, the author says that ""[e]very month I've got to make sure High Times is filled with information for readers interested in growing their own dope."" And this wryly self-proclaimed ""dope reporter"" runs into some interesting folks who are in search of that perfect high, such as the Dirt Farmer, ""who lived in an old farmhouse--the kind of place the Waltons might have stayed in if Papa was a sociopath and a multiple felon,"" but who has a Field of Dreams full of the best marijuana south of the Mason-Dixon line. We get to infiltrate a Potsmokers Anonymous meeting where the ""toke and stroke"" method is analyzed with hilarious consequences. Next is Sturgis, S.Dak., the home of the annual Sturgis Rally and Races for bikers that is about ""babes, beer, guts, tits, ass, tattoos, drugs, vets, and a lot of people telling bad jokes."" There is also a visit to Jamaica in search of ""the real Bob"" Marley, the late reggae cult figure; a junket to the annual gathering of Rainbow Family of Living Light in Taos, N.Mex., where even a dope reporter like Simunek finds ""the passivity of the thing... unnatural""; and a road trip following the Sex Pistols around Europe in their Filthy Lucre comeback tour. Fans of the film Reefer Madness and Hunter S. Thompson will be delighted by Simunek. Photos. (July)