It’s 1969. Jolie stands on the deck of her parents’ Santa Barbara home watching an uncontrolled oil spill. She’s outraged and motivated to do something about it. Jolie’s father may be an oil executive, but that doesn’t stop her from hitchhiking to the harbor and joining an anti-oil drilling protest.
When a television broadcast shows her protesting, Jolie’s father prohibits any more involvement. This fuels the fire burning inside of her, and she flees home with Will, her older, activist boyfriend. Idealistic and ready for anything, Jolie follows Will and his big promises into the sixties’ cultural revolution to create a better society.
Thrown into an adult world, Jolie lies about her age and identity and quickly discovers that nearly everything is more complicated than it seems on the surface—Will included. In this psychological love story, Jolie’s emotional journey from California to the East Coast, is one of pain, resilience, fear, and hope, as she navigates an increasingly controlling boyfriend and her own personal convictions.
Filled with colorful settings, characters, and the music of the times, She’s Gone is an authentic and heartfelt story of self-discovery that follows a young woman’s spiritual odyssey through the domestic unrest of the Vietnam War, the start of the environmental movement, and the Women’s Liberation Movement. Many of the social and political issues continue to be relevant today.
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About the Author
Joye Emmens lives and writes in Ventura, California after a successful career in environmental health and biotechnology.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reviewed by Alysha Allen for Readers' Favorite Angered by the oil spill in her hometown on Santa Barbara's coast in 1969 and being sent to Catholic school, fifteen-year-old Jolie absconds from her family with her twenty-four-year-old activist boyfriend, Will. Hoping she would now be free from her parents' control, she is instead kept under Will's dictatorial command and prevented from contacting her family. With Jolie forced to lie about her name, age, and identity, Will moves them around the country, bent on evading private detectives and his arrest. Meanwhile, as Will's Socialist Reform Movement grows, he increasingly begins to demean any facet of Jolie's life outside of his own. Unbreakable, however, with the help of Buddhism and her supportive friends, she finds the wisdom to become attuned to her heart and discover the independence she has long been searching for in Joye Emmens' debut novel, She's Gone. Joye Emmens deftly explores the political landscape of 1960s America, weaving the war-weary nation with its sundry insurgent groups, from hippy urbanites leaving the city to live off the land in isolated communes to zealous anti-capitalist socialists and the ever-growing Women's Liberation Movement. It is this turbulent country she aptly portrays to reflect Jolie's personal troubles and make us feel for her situation with striking empathy. Often, I found myself enthralled in the affairs of Jolie's life and after each page wished she was closer to harnessing her inner strength in order to leave her controlling boyfriend. Additionally, Emmens' descriptions of the historical topography of the places Jolie lives in greatly elevates the story's engaging veracity. She's Gone, besides being an entertaining exposition into the counterculture that reigned in America's mid-twentieth century, is a captivating tale of a girl's adventuresome transition into womanhood.