These are just a few of the words used to describe the book:

Humor, laughter, unique, wild, and heartbreaking page turner.

Flashback to the 1970s in Northern California

Told in a series of flashbacks punctuated with more recent visits to a therapist, Bross relives his childhood in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Bross himself narrates the audiobook well, his voice is very pleasant, even when recounting horrifying incidents and a litany of neglect that puts him in danger and discomfort while growing up with alternately too much control – by a domineering step-father – and then too little control – by his charismatic mother.

Yet Bross’s deep affection for his mother and his siblings kept him afloat when a lesser mensch would have called time and shuffled off this mortal coil. Despite a growing discomfort with the circumstances of his life, Bross remained indomitable, rationalizing his experiences with the help of his particular brand of dark humor and the support of his older sister. And there was fun, with his bitingly-cynical, counter-culture, unreliable mother. And it was cool… some of the time.

Bross’s family reflected the Zeitgeist of the 1970s in California – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Bross met some interesting and famous people in his time in groovy San Francisco, affluent Marin County, and rural Davis. He was an observant child whose memories were stored so that he can report to us now the chaos swirling around him then.

Jame E. Applebee, Verified Purchase

What an amazing true story. A mother who would rather be a hippie than a parent to 5 children.

This book is incredibly engaging on many different levels. It’s heartbreaking to witness what the author endures growing up with a conventional mother-turned-hippie who decides she no longer wants to be a mother to him and his four siblings. The neglect is abusive and shocking and all the more amazing insofar is that it really happened. The story is non-fiction but almost doesn’t feel like it because it’s hard to believe many of the events actually occurred. That’s part of what makes it a great read. The book is also literally laugh-out-loud funny the way the more straight-laced son (and author) observes the absurd sequence of events and the outlandish people his mother drags into the family’s lives. Lastly, the book does an incredible job portraying the late 60’s-1970’s culture that makes you relive these tumultuous times and remind you where you were when these things were happening. This is a must-read.

Tracy Stoddard, Verified Purchase

 I Loved this Book!

I was able to read this book before it was formally published and loved every page. The storyline, the craziness, the experiences Tom shares are really quite incredible. The writing is good too! I’m surprised this hasn’t been picked up by a major publishing house but perhaps it will once people read it and share it with their friends, as I’m sure will be happening. When are the rest of the books coming out?

Natasha Miller, Amazon Review

Laughter through tears…

A touching memoir that makes you laugh and cry. As Dolly Parton once said “laughter through tears is my favorite emotion”. Cleverly written from the perspective of repetitive counseling sessions. I couldn’t put it down and look forward to book 2!

Andrea Brayson, Verified Purchase


The author’s gift is his ability to weave wit and texture into a childhood story hard for most people to imagine. “Tightrope” is a page-turner, and it gives the reader a unique glimpse into a family structure that forced each member to build their own identity. For me, reading this book was a step into our past. Tom Bross has been my best friend since junior high school. Most of the characters in the book I knew or met, so many of Tom’s stories shared in “Tightrope” resonated with me. That said, what really stood out to me was how much love Tom had/has for his family and friends despite the pain and hardship he endured during his youth. I can’t wait to read Book Two, as the stories shared so far have just scratched the surface.

Brad Bargmann, Verified Purchase

Cliff’s Garage

“Don’t Call Me Jupiter” is a coming-of-age story of psychedelic adventure wrapped in paisley. Author Tom Bross, in this superbly written memoir, charts the winding chaotic paths of growing up in a vagabond family led by a self-absorbed, eccentric hippie mother during the Age of Aquarius. “She hopes one day I will see the cosmic-hippie light.” His story takes a sharp turn from a straight-laced family ruled by his cruel stepfather to a lifestyle of astrology charts, homeopathic medicine, free love, acid trips, to “telepathic brain waves.” His mother continually uproots her family on a whim to move miles away, which compounds his confusion. “It’s like our move took place during a commercial break.” She dumps Tom time and again at a former lover’s seedy house to sleep in a disgusting pigsty: “Cliff’s Garage.” The garage symbolizes Tom’s feeling of isolation and abandonment. “The garage is furnished with loneliness … I’m locked in a frozen cell of self-pity, knowing I’m starting the new year in the garage of one of my mother’s ex-lovers.” Mare, his mother is attractive and highly sexed. “My mother is an insatiable, nympho–sex-crazed–floozie–maniac.” “Don’t Call Me Jupiter” is a great read with keen insights into human nature and a bygone American culture.

Robert Dorroh, Verified Purchase

An amazing story; a combination of affection, sorrow, and hardship all with a humorous touch.

I got to know the author, Tom Bross, many years ago. I became aware of his unbelievable upbringing and stories that at the time I thought were a bit shocking and mostly funny. But to sit down and read his memoir chapter by chapter, page by page, and word by word put a whole new perspective on the life and upbringing of this young boy in a world I could never relate to. An amazing story of a unique 60s bonded family with rather shallow roots. Book one “Tightrope” is an easy read as the author’s keen sense of humor comes to life on every page. Loved It and recommend it! Can’t wait to read Book 2.

D. Paul

If you think YOUR life is bad…

I bought this book for several reasons. The first was we know Donna. The second was we were hippies who have a son named Jupiter and the third was we’re from Davis and have some mutual friends but, that doesn’t diminish the fact that this book brought me to tears of laughter where I couldn’t even breathe it was so funny. So, what’s so funny about tragedy? Some people can do it!! Tom is a master at making his tragic childhood hilarious to read about. I have to admit it hit home a few times which made it funnier to me. I especially enjoyed seeing life through the eyes of a boy, since I’m a girl. Boys are definitely different! Thanks Tom! Great reading great laughs.

KC Jones, Verified Purchase

A Fascinating Story…but it’s True

I couldn’t put this book down! I’m glad I bought both books at the same time so I can continue the story. I was immediately drawn in by Tom’s honesty and humor, all the while discussing the roller coaster that was his childhood. Tom’s sister Chris was my friend, so I knew his family, and spent time at their home when they lived on L Street in Davis. It was good to see the pictures, and hear the stories from his perspective. They were an unconventional family during a crazy time. Write on Tom, you have a gift! Thank you for sharing. <3

Rhonda Kelly, Verified Purchase

Brilliant 👏 👏 👏 👏 👏

Five star memoirs “hit” differently than fiction, and, for me, often result in spending a lot more time digesting the writers’ experiences before being able to share my thoughts. Here is my spoiler free review.

Tom Bross’ wit and magnetic presence on Bookstagram brought my attention to “Don’t Call Me Jupiter.” I have always been obsessed with 70s culture and Tom did not disappoint. Tom excels at imagery: shag carpet, bell-bottoms, mood rings, free love, and a never-ending supply of drugs. While these pop-culture references are standard for the 70s, they take on poignant meaning when shared through the eyes of a child.

Tom was far from average as a child. Keenly aware of his surroundings and exceedingly intelligent, this memoir allows the reader to experience his tumultuous childhood. The story takes us from one extreme to another, marking change as the only constant in Tom’s life.

Surrounded by his siblings, we fall in love with his sisters. Tom’s writing is rich and the “characters” are full-bodied. It is easy to forget that they are real people and these events truly happened. Tom has shared a part of his soul with the reader- a true gift in the world of literature.

Alley Cat and Julia, Verified Purchase