Growing up in the 1970s has never before been portrayed with such delightful ludicrousness and heartrending tenderness as in Why Aren't You Smiling? When teenage Leonard decides to quit being a Dweeb and instead join the Burnouts, his "good kid" persona is abandoned as he embarks on a comically painful journey of self-discovery through his unconventional friendship with Rick, an older Jesus freak barefoot hippie. The farcical parallel story of how Irving Mandelbaum from Los Angeles transmogrifies into rag-tag cult leader Rick of The Forever Family paints an indelible portrait of California during one of its most preposterous eras.
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- M. Naomi