Guns Under the Bed

Memories of a Young Revolutionary

Non-Fiction - Memoir
216 Pages
Reviewed on 07/19/2020
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Author Biography

Jody A. Forrester was born and raised in Los Angeles during the uneasy Fifties and tumultuous Sixties. She graduated from high school in 1969, while the Vietnam War was raging and the country increasingly divided along racial and class lines. When a freshman at San Jose State University, she joined a communist organization advocating armed overthrow of the United States government. In Guns Under the Bed: Memories of a Young Revolutionary, Jody reaches into her past to understand how she came to embrace such a violent culture.
A chiropractor by profession, she was forced into retirement by a hand injury requiring surgery. With her time suddenly open, Jody was able to return to her first love, writing fiction and nonfiction stories. She pursued a BA in literature and writing at Antioch College/Los Angeles (2007), and a MFA, also in literature and writing, at Bennington College (2010).
Jody’s essays and short stories have appeared in the Sonora Review, Two Hawks Quarterly, WriteRoom, Dreamers Writing, Citroen Review, Gazelle and several others. A story received an honorable mention in the Anderbo/Open City Competition (2009) and another story was featured in the 6th Annual Emerging Voices Group Show (2010) in Los Angeles.
She lives in Venice, California with her husband, John Schneider and Australian Shepherd Charley, in the house by the beach where they raised their two daughters, Emily and Erin.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite

Guns Under the Bed: Memories of a Young Revolutionary by Jody A. Forrester is a raw, honest memoir about a woman's path to expressing her beliefs and living her own truth. She was just a teenager in the Sixties--a flower child caught up in the anti-war movement during the Vietnam war era. A pacifist and activist, she wanted nothing more than to be heard, bring the war to an end, and live in a more peaceful society. The times were fraught with civil unrest, culture clashes, and political firestorms. From there she became a strong revolutionist, ready and willing to topple the ruling elite of the United States in the name of fairness and equality. She joined a Communist organization and became fully immersed in Mao Tse Tung's philosophy of class warfare. But how did this leap happen? And why? Can a peaceful hippie-type really transition to the opposite side of things--a side where she literally slept with two rifles under her bed?

Forrester has to delve back into her childhood to give you these answers, and she does with poetic poignancy and an honesty that will startle you. Like many adolescents, she was out to find herself, speak out, and make a change in the world. Her way. It's as if she took a journey from innocence to experience, where sometimes ideals, values, and beliefs can be tarnished by disillusionment. Her coming-of-age autobiography reveals that her internal upheaval mirrored the external upheaval around her. In light of today's civil unrest, I think it would be a good book for the YA audience as Forrester dives back into her past and puts her secrets, strife, and struggles on display in a way that is helpful and supportive. It's a lesson in finding out who you are and what you believe in, and having the courage to live it in the face of adversity. It's also about honesty and knowing when it's time to move on. Guns Under the Bed: Memories of a Young Revolutionary by Jody A. Forrester is a cutting-edge memoir that echoes today's troubled times.