Amy’s Story

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Amy has a story to tell. But before she ventures into the narrative, she backtracks to her well-to-do childhood with an Italian mother. Then, as a teenager, leaving behind her friend Stella, she moves to New York to live with her American father, a book publisher.

Spring forward several years. Now a successful publisher herself, despite several editors at hand, Amy chooses to edit a special manuscript, a memoir written by her friend Stella. In succeeding chapters, “Stella” attends a violent meeting of the Black Panthers in LA, then confronts the scene of ensuing societal and political upheavals, most of them on the West coast.

Few people have experienced such close encounters with all that follows, especially when escorted by someone as distasteful as the long-lasting boyfriend Jim, a coarse, unpleasant man, embarrassing her in one sequence after another. Perhaps he’s there, bombasting through the pages, just to show why women must toughen up, resist looks, go for the jugular.

To give her credit, Stella does venture into academia, following Jim’s perverse footsteps, and it is as she struggles with courses and faculty toward a PhD that she manages to protest the Vietnam War, hear Bobby Kennedy’s last rousing address, and be too close for comfort at the Weather Underground’s downtown bombing.

Amid the crises, she travels to Mexico for an abortion, graphically though not clinically described. By 1973, her schooling is over and she moves to join the faculty at Fairville, where a new man, Steve, comes into her life and they marry. From the start, the marriage lacks the excitement and fascination of the recent past, and before too long she has taken up with Nik, a romantic Russian colleague. Stella is nothing if not venturesome!

Anna Lawton’s ear for dialogue is spot on, and she introduces friends, colleagues, events, and geographic changes with assurance. The book is a wonderful summation of North America’s trials and tribulations over the past four decades. For a long time I was mystified by the book’s title, Amy’s Story. And I believe the tale could have stood on its own two legs without the subterfuge.

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Star Count 4/5
Format Trade
Page Count 246 pages
Publisher New Academia Publishing
Publish Date 2017-Mar-25
ISBN 9780997496200 Buy this Book
Issue May 2017
Category Historical Fiction


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