Guns Under the Bed: Memories of a Young Revolutionary
In the 1950s, parenting had not become the new age endeavor it is today, and “spare the rod and spoil the child,” was a popular child-rearing philosophy, along with “children should be seen, but not heard.” Most parents weren’t their children’s best friends and that went both ways.
Such was the case in Jody A. Forrester’s family, and to condemn her parents would, in part, be to not understand the era. However, from that family dysfunction was planted “the earliest seeds of a self-destructive sense of shame that would become my [Forrester’s] lifelong shadow companion.”
Forrester emerged as a teenager in the late 1960s when America was in turmoil. The war in Vietnam was as futile as it was unpopular. American youth were rebelling against the morals and lifestyles of their parents.
In college, Forrester found her “rebellious, defiant, and impulsive” personality was a perfect fit for the anti-war movement. When introduced to the more radical Revolutionary Union by her boyfriend, she was “relieved to find what I believed to be straightforward solutions to the complicated challenges of capitalist exploitation.”
But what appealed to Forrester the most was that “I found a family with whom I fit, a family who didn’t care whether my hair was straight or curly, or teased me for laughing too loudly. Nobody commented on my height, nobody looked askance at my teeth or feet. For the first time, I was forging my own way, definitively leaving behind my parents’ expectations and my erratic self-destructive past.”
For a while, Forrester felt she had found her niche. On campus, she gained a reputation as a persuasive speaker. “For the first time, I was proud of being big and loud, unchecked by the constraints of self-loathing. It felt good to identify the enemy and expose them for the tyrants they were. I had a sense of belonging to something bigger, being on the inside of a community of my own making, on my own terms.”
But gradually, the author became disenchanted with the clandestine meetings, the weapons training with live ammunition, the strict doctrine that prevented friendships outside the Party, and the guns under the bed – the real threat of deadly confrontation with authorities.
Guns Under the Bed: Memories of a Young Revolutionary is informative and entertaining. The story is well structured, the writing is seamless, and Forrester’s voice is authentic. The memoir is filled with pain, honesty, humility, and ultimately hope.
They say if you remember the sixties you weren’t there. Jody Forrester was there, and her recollection is of a vivid, intense, and turbulent time for herself and America.
This page was created by an City Book Review staff member.
|Author||Jody A. Forrester|
|Page Count||214 pages|
|Amazon||Buy this Book|
|Category||Biographies & Memoirs|