In Split, Lisa Michaels offers a strikingly textured portrait of her days of communes and road trips, of antiwar protests and rallies --- and of what came after, for her parents and herself --- as the radicalism of the 1960s and '70s gave way to conservative times. As a young child, Michaels visited her father in prison, where he was serving a two-year sentence for his part in an antiwar protest. In the early '70s, she toured the country with her mother and stepfather in a customized mail truck, complete with oriental rugs and a wood stove, until the family settled in a small northern California town. Her father later moved to the Bay Area, where he worked in auto plants and served as a labor organizer. By the age of eight Michaels was a veteran leaflet-folder, and she consecrated her father's second marriage in a Berkeley park by reading from Quotations from Chairman Mao. Not surprisingly, Michaels grew up craving conformity --- giving her mother makeovers and arranging their secondhand furniture in inspired ways --- but she also came to share the values her parents held dear: independence, frankness, and unsparing self-examination. In the buttoned-up world of UCLA during the Reagan years, she went through a hippie revival phase, wearing batik dresses and Chairman Mao pins, a throwback amid the campus's Greek revivalists and young Republicans. Against that traditional backdrop her parents' longtime activism took on new meaning, and at twenty-two, much in the spirit of her upbringing, Michaels embarked on a trip through Asia. Observant, luminous, and wry, Split captures both the vulnerability and heady freedom of a counterculture childhood. It is a powerful blend of social reflection and personal reminiscence, a memoir that paints a clear-eyed and unforgettable picture of the ways in which the legacy of the '60s impacted one remarkable family.
About Lisa Michaels
See more books from this Author
Published April 5, 1999
by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences.