Saturday, 31 March 2012

Book Review: REVOLUTION (The Year I Fell in Love and went to Join the War) BY DEB OLIN UNFERTH

Genre:  Memoir
Published:  Henry Holt  (Feb 2011)
Source:  Publishers
My Rating:  7/10

About the Book:

REVOLUTION tells the funny and poignant story of the year the author ran away from college with her idealistic boyfriend and followed him to Nicaragua to join the Sandinistas.
Despite their earnest commitment to a myriad of revolutionary causes and to each other, Deb and her boyfriend find themselves unwanted, unhelpful, and unprepared as they bop around Central America, looking for "revolution jobs." 
The year is 1987, a turning point in the Cold War, although the world doesn’t know it yet, especially not Unferth and her fiancé (he proposes on a roadside in El Salvador).   
But years later the trip remains fixed in her mind and she finally goes back to Nicaragua to try to make sense of it all.  Unferth’s heartbreaking and hilarious memoir perfectly captures the youthful search for meaning, and is an absorbing rumination on what happens to a country and its people after the revolution is over.

In 1987 Deb and her boyfriend George decide that their main ambition was to help the revolution, they had wanted to go to Cuba but didn't know how to get there as it was illegal.

George didn't believe in paying bills, it was a principle with him, corporations were evil and rich, he didn't care about money, possessions, sleep or food....Deb found this attractive and thought he was a genius....thus she followed him around South America even though she hated it -

I saw suddenly that this was all a game for me.  The Christianity, the running away, the marrying.  I was going along with it, but I didn't mean it , and I didn't like fact I hated it.  I hated not eating enough, hated my dirty clothes, hated San Salvador, hated George in some way because he'd brought me here and because I knew he meant all of it.

They wanted 'revolution jobs' but few people wanted to hire them.  They travelled to El Salvador where they helped at (and got fired from) an orphanage - in Nicaragua their visas ran out and, as they weren't working for the revolution, they couldn't renew it - then on to Costa Rica and Panama.

They got sick and sicker, got robbed several times, ran out of money, and Deb and George gradually drifted apart.

This is a book of anecdotes, I found the writing simple and easy, though it was all over the place sometimes, with short chapters.

It was light-hearted in parts, sad in others, for me it wasn't a page-turner, it was interesting but not engrossing.

Special Thanks to the publishers for sending it to me.

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