All the Ghosts Dance Free
In a memoir that spans the 1950s to the present day, we see a woman’s journey from post-war affluence, through the swiftly changing tides of the sixties, and into today’s world of role reversals as a caretaker for her father.
Born into an exclusive neighborhood on the coast of California, Terry watches the ocean through the glass wall of her house. As the tectonic plates crack and move the landscape of her world, her family also suffers with its own shifting fault lines: Her parents divorce, and she moves with her mother and younger sister to Palm Springs.
With early independence thrust upon her, she steps out on her own and sees more of the world. She marries young and moves to Sausalito with her husband and their two male artist friends. They drop acid every Saturday night and practice yoga every Sunday. “Our actions were imbued with significance, as if on Saturday nights the universe looked through us….”
The memoir abruptly stops after the birth of Terry’s son and jumps forty years into the future. Terry faces the strain of maintaining a relationship with her aging parents as she becomes more of a parent figure to them.
The second half of the book is less focused than the first half. It jumps rapidly from present day to flashback to flashback to flashback, and it is difficult to keep the timeline straight, as there are many new characters and places. The latter half of the book also reads as a sort of travelogue as Terry and her family visit different countries: Mexico, many European countries, Tahiti, and, finally, Morocco.
All the Ghosts Dance Free tells the fascinating story of a woman striding confidently through a swiftly fluctuating world and how she and the world shape each other.
Terry Cameron Baldwin
She Writes Press