The Vietnam War is a much talked about affair in US history–not only because of its surprising initiation, but also because of its debilitating effects on the US economy. The War also brought about an uprising against corporate America, with youngsters vying for a socialist cause based on the principals of Marxism and Mao Zedong. All this, and so much more, surrounds the story of Jolie in Joye Emmens’ novel She’s Gone.
Despite her father being an employee of an oil drilling company, Jolie finds herself at a crossfire with him, as she watches her beautiful Santa Barbara Coast destroyed by a massive oil spill. When she comes on TV, as she participates in an anti-government protest, Jolie’s father decides to send her to an all-girls Catholic School. Jolie is then forced to run away with her supposed true love, Will, an older guy and a supporter of a socialist cause.
From here on, the story follows Jolie as she’s on the run for more than a year with Will as her guardian. She struggles, as she inhabits communes and houses, with Will’s guidance. She learns how to make herbal medicine, goes on for days without a shower, and is forced to hide her age and work meager jobs while Will works towards the greater cause of a United Socialist Movement . When they finally settle in Boston, she realizes she misjudged Will as he flirted with other women while she waited tables and saved her tips. She makes new friends–people who go to college and even universities–and ends up reevaluating her drastic move. Read on to find out if her love and his plans are worth staying for.
She’s Gone is an excellent story of a young woman who struggles to find her identity in the midst of chaotic times. Her loyalty to the environmentalist movement and the Women’s Liberation Movement goes to show the level of awareness women had acquired in the 1960s. An excellent book that keeps the reader turning pages until the last chapter. Highly recommended.