Toronto Book Review



In the turbulent backdrop of late 1970s California, “A Purple Haze” by C.E. Joseph takes readers on an unforgettable journey through the life of Paxton Joseph, a high school student who becomes entangled in the dangerous world of smuggling marijuana. This gripping memoir offers a raw and authentic glimpse into the challenges and consequences of illegal activities, making it a compelling read from start to finish.

C.E. Joseph, the author of “A Purple Haze,” draws heavily from his own life experiences to craft this narrative. His first book, “Cubbyhole Kid,” chronicled his tumultuous childhood under the harsh rule of his father, Captain Henry Joseph. This earlier work, which serves as a prequel to “A Purple Haze,” provides context for the decisions and life path that Paxton Joseph, the protagonist, takes. Joseph’s ability to transform personal hardships into captivating stories showcases his talent for memoir writing and his dedication to truth-telling.

“A Purple Haze” delves into themes of survival, rebellion, and the pursuit of identity amidst chaos; following the unexpected death of his mother, just two weeks after his thirteenth birthday. His life would never be the same. Now, Paxton Joseph, on the cusp of turning sixteen, finds himself as a runner for a violent marijuana grower. Using his car, affectionately named ‘the Bird,’ he navigates the dangerous waters of large quantity marijuana distribution under the constant surveillance of school authorities, law enforcement, and his troubled, alcoholic father. The story is a testament to the resilience of youth and the often misguided quest for belonging and purpose.

The narrative is filled with the tension of Jodi and Paxton’s unpredictable tale, marked by moments of high stakes and harrowing decisions. The authenticity of Joseph’s writing captures the precarious balance Paxton maintains between his double life as a student and high-quality weed runner. The book culminates in a dramatic cliffhanger, leaving readers eager for more and reflecting on the precarious nature of Paxton’s existence.

His reflections on his relationship with his father and his first car add a poignant layer to the narrative, making it not just a tale of survival but also one of personal growth and self-discovery.

Pick up a copy of “A Purple Haze” and immerse yourself in Paxton Joseph’s harrowing yet inspiring journey.

Purchase the Book Today on Amazon.

Rating: 5/5 Stars
Reviewer: Liam Weston
Date of Review: June 13, 2024

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