The Year I Fell in Love and Went to Join the War

Book - 2011
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Rising literary star Deb Olin Unferth offers a new twist on the coming-of-age memoir in this utterly unique and captivating story of the year she ran away from college with her Christian boyfriend and followed him to Nicaragua to join the Sandinistas.

Despite their earnest commitment to a myriad of revolutionary causes and to each other, the couple 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. The East-West balance has begun to tip, although the world doesn't know it yet, especially not Unferth and her fiancé (he proposes on a roadside in El Salvador). The months wear on and cracks begin to form in their relationship: they get fired, they get sick, they run out of money, they grow disillusioned with the revolution and each other. 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.

Publisher: New York : Henry Holt, 2011.
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780805093230
Branch Call Number: 813.6 UNFERTH
Characteristics: 208 pages ; 22 cm.


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I really enjoyed this memoir from Deb Olin Unferth on the travels of her youth. It is a coming-of-age story about a young American idealistic girl who went to join the “revolution” in Central America in mid-80s, along with her boyfriend. Very funny and honest. (submitted by SF)


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