Serotonin Serenade – A Book Review

Jim Simons’ Molly Chronicles: Serotonin Serenade (Plain View Press, Austin, 2006) may be the sweetest memoir yet to come out of the radical movements of the 1960s and beyond. Spanning Simons’ 40 years as a self-created Movement lawyer, and written with the help of his poodle, Molly, the book touches lightly on events that made headlines, coaxing the reader’s memories to join Jim’s. From civil rights, anti-draft and anti-war demonstrations to defending the American Indian Movement at Wounded Knee, Simons stood with the people and defended them. Grinding no axes, he doesn’t try to set history straight, nor justify or condemn anybody’s politics.

Instead he recounts the path of a directionless, unmotivated lad who hated Law School, through perilous times, sexual revolution, recurring depression and “ethanol”, to a state of grace as grandfather and husband, and how it came to be well-deserved after all. There’s no white-washing of his own sins, committed or omitted; in fact some may say Jim shares too much of his romantic wanderings, but I for one am glad to know others still recall a unique time when love was easily expressed in the universal currency of kisses, and, in fact, all we needed was love — and a good lawyer. Bittersweet poignancy alternates with laughter and people’s victories here; recommended.

– Mariann Wizard

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