Poet and playwright Sherman’s attempt to demystify the 1960s, based on the author’s personal experiences.
The reader enters the story haphazardly, at a time when Sherman was disoriented, not yet realizing the significance of the decade. Upon her arrival in Berkeley, Calif., at the end of the ’50s, in the thick of a political-resistance movement, the author was unsettled and inexperienced. As a result, her recollections are a bit disjointed, and the narrative bears the mark of a poet, a form of identity Sherman quickly self-applied after a move to New York City. Her words read like prose poetry—expressive, reactionary and meandering, which makes the bulk of her story, told in a series of two- and three-page chapters, seem haphazard and overwrought. But as she details her years spent in Berkeley, New York and Cuba, she justifies her stylistic choices, citing the inconsistencies of memory and asserting that poetry is sometimes the only way to truly put an incident into words, to allow the reader to feel her numerous diverse experiences. Sherman participated in nonviolent protests, read poetry with Allen Ginsberg and Grace Paley, discussed rebellion with Fidel Castro and founded IKON magazine, and readers follow the author through the resistance against the Vietnam War, the communist scare and the birth of the women’s movement.
Pulls readers into its rhythm as it chronicles the author’s eventful life.