SHE WAS by Janis Hallowell


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Hallowell (The Annunciation of Francesca Dunn, 2004) weaves together the past and present in the story of a Vietnam protestor.

Doreen Woods is a normal urban mother. What nobody knows—not even her husband and teenage son—is that in college Doreen was involved with a violent anti-war group called the Fishbone. Through a series of suspenseful flashbacks we learn that, in 1971, Doreen set off a protest bomb that accidentally killed a Columbia University janitor. For more than 30 years, she has lived as a fugitive. At present, Doreen is happily married, adores her son and runs a successful dental practice. She also takes care of her brother, Adam, who is sick with MS and is the only family member who knows Doreen’s secret. Despite the appearance of normalcy, Doreen is always haunted by her past, and she constantly reinforces the parallels between the Vietnam War and the current Iraq conflict, displaying obvious dismay over the current state of the nation. With the reappearance of a former comrade who betrayed her years ago, Doreen knows that the day she always feared—the day she will be caught—is imminent. The character of Doreen is rendered with objectivity, and the reader is able to judge her on his or her own terms. Unfortunately, events occurring after the arrest are not addressed, leaving one to guess whether Doreen ultimately serves jail time or walks free.

An engaging, if a bit too open-ended story about the consequences of actions.

Pub Date: May 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-06-124325-7
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2008


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