“Those who enjoyed Jeannette Walls’s The Glass Castle will find much to admire” (Booklist, starred review) in this “thoroughly engrossing” (The New York Times Book Review) memoir about a boy on the run with his mother, as she abducts him to Latin America in search of the revolution.
Carol Andreas was a traditional 1950s housewife from a small Mennonite town in central Kansas who became a radical feminist and Marxist revolutionary. From the late sixties to the early eighties, she went through multiple husbands and countless lovers while living in three states and five countries. She took her youngest son, Peter, with her wherever she went, even kidnapping him and running off to South America after his straitlaced father won a long and bitter custody fight.
They were chasing the revolution together, though the more they chased it the more distant it became. They battled the bad “isms” (sexism, imperialism, capitalism, fascism, consumerism), and fought for the good “isms” (feminism, socialism, communism, egalitarianism). Between the ages of five and eleven, Peter lived in more than a dozen homes, moving from the comfortably bland suburbs of Detroit to a hippie commune in Berkeley to a socialist collective farm in pre-military coup Chile to highland villages and coastal shantytowns in Peru. When they secretly returned to America they settled down clandestinely in Denver, where his mother changed her name to hide from his father.
A “luminous memoir” (Publishers Marketplace, starred review) and “an illuminating portrait of a childhood of excitement, adventure, and love” (Kirkus Reviews) this is an extraordinary account of a deep mother-son bond and the joy and toll of growing up in a radical age. Peter Andreas is an insightful and candid narrator of “a profound and enlightening book that will open readers up to different ideas about love, acceptance, and the bond between mother and son” (Library Journal, starred review).
A mother and her young son go looking for a liberation that verges on chaos in this luminous memoir. Political scientist Andreas (Smuggler Nation) recounts his adventures with his mother, Carol, a Mennonite turned Marxist anti-war feminist who abducted the five-year-old Peter from Michigan in 1969 during a custody dispute with her ex-husband, taking him on a years-long odyssey through South America in search of revolutionary ferment. His narrative is a vivid, picaresque tour of early-1970s left-wing counterculture: squalid communes; collective farms in Salvador Allende's Chile; Peruvian slums, where Carol became interested in the Sendero Luminoso guerilla movement; vehement arguments about anti-establishment rectitude and fine points of Marxist theory; endless scrounging while disdaining all material desires. Mother and son both ran pretty wild (Andreas virtually raised himself in the streets while Carol sometimes bedded her parade of lovers in the room she shared with Andreas, until she married an erratic Peruvian street performer half her age), and Andreas feels both exhilaration and a longing for the stable, orderly life his father represents. Andreas's exuberant but clear-eyed memoir paints an indelible portrait of his charismatic mother, the era's expansive pursuit of freedom and idealistic commitment, and the toll of exhausted dreams and frayed relationships the idealists left behind. Photos.