Butch Freedman’s Beach Bum looks at the many paths and people that go into the making of a life. It is a pessimist’s endorsement of hope and keeping on. In a series of personal essays, both humorous and deadly serious, Freedman traces his attempts to live a meaningful life. He writes about issues ranging from his rejection and later embrace of Judaism to dealing with hepatitis C to a return to surfing at the age of 70. Freedman’s stories try to answer the existential questions that present themselves at every turn: Why this family? Where is home? What is it you truly want and why is it so hard to find peace of mind? And why ever stray from the beach? Perhaps, in the end, he accepts that there are no answers other than taking the journey and remembering the people and the stories along the way.