Squeaky; The Life and Times of Lynette Alice Fromme

Overview

In the early 1950s, Lynette Fromme's world was more or less a paint-by-numbers existence that millions of other suburban children were living in Southern California. Red-haired, freckled, and convivial, she was the child of an in absentia workaholic father and a reclusive mother. She sang in the school choir and her dance troupe performed before President Eisenhower. As a young teenager she wrote forlorn poetry. Beyond her neighborhood, the counter-culture of Los Angeles was thriving. Lynette began getting ...
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Overview

In the early 1950s, Lynette Fromme's world was more or less a paint-by-numbers existence that millions of other suburban children were living in Southern California. Red-haired, freckled, and convivial, she was the child of an in absentia workaholic father and a reclusive mother. She sang in the school choir and her dance troupe performed before President Eisenhower. As a young teenager she wrote forlorn poetry. Beyond her neighborhood, the counter-culture of Los Angeles was thriving. Lynette began getting interested in, then became attracted to, the freedoms of that world. Little by little, she began losing her way.... That day on the beach marked Lynette's introduction to the world of shade. Charles Manson, freshly released from prison, became her guide to illegal drugs and social outcasts. Over the course of a decade, Lynette would change until she found herself imprisoned for the term of her natural life in the custody of the Attorney General of the United States for attempting to assassinate then-president Gerald Ford. Meticulously researched for over three and a half years, with hundreds of interviews and thousands of pages of testimony to review, in Squeaky author Jess Bravin has created a psychosocial masterpiece of one American girl who ran away, and ran too far.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Journalist/law student Bravin presents the story of one runaway American girl and her encounters with what Orwell calls "the dirty handkerchief side of life." Traces Lynett Fromme's life from her suburban California childhood, to the day she first encountered Charles Manson on the Venice Beach boardwalk, through her imprisonment for attempting to assassinate Gerald Ford. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Kirkus Reviews
This biography of Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme—would-be assassin of President Ford—leaves large portions of her life unexplored, focusing in full only on her years in the Manson Family and her attempt to shoot the president.

Among Fromme's many associates interviewed by former New York Times reporter Bravin is Phil Hartman, a high school acquaintance of Fromme's who later became famous on NBC's Saturday Night Live. His recollections of Fromme are bittersweet and provide some of the more compelling material here. However, large lapses remain, not the least of which is the suggestion, never resolved, of incest involving Fromme and her authoritarian father. And Bravin glosses over the two decades since Fromme's conviction in a mere ten pages. Perhaps there are so many loose ends here because Fromme would not agree to be interviewed. She might have, had she known that she would receive such delicate treatment from Bravin. While he pulls no punches concerning Fromme's devotion to Charles Manson, her political views concerning the environment, which she used as an excuse for her crime, are presented virtually unedited, no doubt thanks to Bravin's thorough study of the court transcripts and Fromme's own writings. Bravin seems to want his readers to conclude that Fromme had a good cause, after all. The problem is that she stated her cause—that we are killing ourselves by killing our environment—by saying, in essence, "Stop killing yourself slowly, or I will kill you quickly." Bravin tries hard to make her somewhat sympathetic, but ultimately the reader concludes that Fromme is where she belongs—serving out a life sentence in prison in Marianna, Fla.

Bravin's research on the crucial years is admirable, but his final product is incomplete and only intermittently interesting.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312156633
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 5/15/1997
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 2.00 (d)

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