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Rebel Mother: My Childhood Chasing the Revolution

af Peter Andreas

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261724,372 (3.94)Ingen
"The adventure tale and intimate true story of a boy on the run with his mother, a housewife turned radical who kidnapped her son and set off for South 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). They were constantly running, moving, hiding. Between the ages of five and eleven, Peter attended more than a dozen schools and 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. This is an extraordinary account of a deep mother-son bond and the joy and toll of growing up with a radical mother in a radical age. Andreas is an insightful and candid narrator whose unforgettable memoir gives new meaning to the old saying, "the personal is political.""--Provided by publisher.… (mere)
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This is a book about a complicated, deep and enduring bond between a mother who searched for the revolution in South America in the 1960's-1980's and her son. Peter was abducted by his mother Carol after losing custody of him and from 5-11 years old moved from country to country in Carol's hope that she could find a place where justice and equality prevailed.

After I finished Rebel Mother I thought about all the ways that mother and son were alike. They were passionate, adventurous, and able to easily fit into different cultures and had the ability to keep their wits about them even in danger. But more importantly, Peter and Carol had a vast and deep connection to each other because Carol loved her son and Peter loved his mother. He loved her through danger, poverty, disease and poor choices in men and rotten parenting. Her firm and loving commitment to him kept them together even when it all seemed untenable. For me, having lived through much at that time, I know how close the revolution seemed and how wild and wonderful and scary and dangerous this time was. Carol fascinated me due to her fierceness, rock-bottom commitment for fairness and justice and of course, to her son. Her need to change the unquestioned contract of becoming a 1950's traditional wife and mother led to hard consequences and choices as it often does. And both mother and son had to live with that.

In many ways the epilogue is where Peter Andreas moves from actor to observer as he examines the impact of his childhood. There were many losses including, and most importantly, having a distant relationship to his father with no access to the safety and stability that he could provide. What I love about this section is that the author writes about his mother as a fully realized person not just as a son stuck in childhood who cannot see his mother for who she is. That can be hard to do.

Peter did not become a radical and his mother saw it as a betrayal. She wanted to have her sons follow and keep her revolutionary commitments and was sad and sometimes bitter that they did not. He discovered this by reading her journals after her death. It is the beauty of the book that Peter did keep her commitment. They are not the same but they are similar. Peter cares about justice, equality and border crossings, international economies. He also did this by writing a beautiful tribute to a complicated woman with tenderness and clarity.

Thank you to Edelweiss for allowing me to review this book. ( )
  Karen59 | Jun 1, 2017 |
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"The adventure tale and intimate true story of a boy on the run with his mother, a housewife turned radical who kidnapped her son and set off for South 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). They were constantly running, moving, hiding. Between the ages of five and eleven, Peter attended more than a dozen schools and 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. This is an extraordinary account of a deep mother-son bond and the joy and toll of growing up with a radical mother in a radical age. Andreas is an insightful and candid narrator whose unforgettable memoir gives new meaning to the old saying, "the personal is political.""--Provided by publisher.

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