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Revolution: The Year I Fell in Love and Went to Join the War Hardcover – February 1, 2011

4.0 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.; First Edition edition (February 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805093230
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805093230
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,438,723 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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By Sarah C. Crossland on February 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Calling Deb Olin Unferth's debut memoir by its short title alone will leave readers confused and hungry for something else--this book is, in fact, all about its subtitle: The Year I Fell in Love and Went to Join the War. What is most redeeming about Olin Unferth's literary journey is just this--her utter honesty, the narcissism of coming of age, even when one is eating only bread, preparing for a shortage of water, and fending off spiders in the shapes of plates. There is a beautiful restlessness to it, especially to Olin Unferth's romance with fellow "Sandalista" George. She writes, at the beginning of the essay "Love" (the book is composed of very short "flash" memoirs, "We didn't use the word 'love' with each other. We prided ourselves on it. Not for the usual fairy-tale Communist reasons (love is a capitalist prison) (Communists are always so drearily romantic) but for our own fairy-tale reason: we wouldn't say it unless we knew our love would last forever..." Here we are at a pivotal point in Central American history--the perpetual turning-over of governments, of revolutions, again and again, all across the map--and Olin Unferth writes of her simple human experience. It is refreshingly politically incorrect.

The book reads very quickly--the prose style is very minimalist--very fitting for the setting/scenes of the story. It didn't blow me out out of the water, but it seems to me the sort of thing you have to do at least once. Much like going off to join a revolution.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although I agree with the criticism some have given this book, I also think that's what makes this memoir so fascinating. Unferth and her boyfriend had no idea what they were getting themselves into!
I totally relate to this book and had similar ideas of my own to go join the Revolution. My boyfriend (who later became my husband, then my ex) was Salvadoran so he knew it was no joking matter to go join a guerrilla group or any other group during the civil wars in Central and South America.
We even had some friends who were in a punk rock band that went to Nicaragua after the Revolution. The more I heard, the more I wanted to go. I finally did go to El Salvador, but my boyfriend's family made sure I didn't get into any really bad situations.
It's interesting that of all the people I met who had been to Nicaragua, not one of them told me the raw truth that Unferth tells here. I had no idea that it would have been so difficult! Yes, I knew there were very young soldiers who were indoctrinated to believe anyone who cared about the people were Communists (this was how it was in El Salvador). I knew that the Sandinistas were mostly young idealists who knew what hunger and violence was like (El Salvador too, that's how both sides were able to recruit so many teens). But I never knew about the day to day difficulties of lack of food, money and jobs, and the abundance of diseases that could KILL you!
Unferth bares her soul like few have done, especially as it relates to Central America, idealists and trying to understand another culture.
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Format: Hardcover
I've always liked Deb Olin Unferth's fiction, and her memoir, Revolution, should interest old fans and new readers alike. Revolution recounts the year Unferth fled her conventional college life and embarked on a haphazard journey to South America with her boyfriend, hoping to join a revolution. Unferth has a singular, quietly potent voice and dry wit--some sections are laugh-out-loud funny--and her story is poignant without being sentimental. I loved this book, and can't wait to see what this immensely talented writer does next.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Is it easier to tell the truth in fiction or nonfiction? Deb Olin Unferth, author of the short-story collection Minor Robberies and the novel Vacation, has opted for nonfiction this time around. In her memoir Revolution: The Year I Fell in Love and Went to Join the War, a clueless girl and her Christian boyfriend want to go to Cuba but "don't know how to get there," so they head south instead, toward a Central America caught up in the Cold War.

It's 1987, two years before the fall of the Berlin Wall. In Nicaragua, the Sandinistas have deposed the Somoza family but struggle to feed their people and hold back the Contras. The bloody civil war in El Salvador is approaching its crisis. Honduran and Guatemalan death squads routinely gun down campesinos in the mountains, insisting they are insurgents. Manuel Noriega is el presidente of Panama--for a little while longer.

"Dear Mom and Dad," Debbie writes from Nogales, Texas. "I'm sorry to tell you in this way, but I've left school and am going to help foment the revolution. I am a Christian now and I have been called by God. Due to the layout of the land, we are taking the bus."

Please read the rest of this review at [...]
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read this memoir in one day. I remember the Sandinistas and Father Romero and and all the South American Turmoil in the 80s. Deb has artfully woven the political and social upheaval in South America and tells her own personal tale of love, youthful ideals and rebellion. This memoir makes a statement about revolution on the political and personal level and Deb spins a thoughtful, literary testament to a time and place in her life painted against a modern revolution. I highly recommend this memoir. I saw Deb discuss her book and read. She is a diminutive woman in stature but not in talent. Good Writing!
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