Guns Under the Bed: Memories of a Young Revolutionary

(3 customer reviews)

It is 1969 and Jody A. Forrester is in her late teens, transitioning from sixties love child to pacifist anti-Vietnam War activist to an ardent revolutionary. Guns Under the Bed: Memories of a Young Revolutionary revolves around her three years in the Revolutionary Union, a Communist organization advocating armed overthrow of the ruling class. In readiness for the uprising, she sleeps with two rifles underneath her bed.

One of millions protesting the war, what sets Jody apart her from her peers is her decision to join a group espousing Mao Tse Tung’s ideology of class war. But why? How does she come to embrace violence as the only solution to the inequities inherent in a capitalist empire? To answer that question, Jody goes into her past, and in the process comes to realize that what she always thought of as political is also deeply personal.

More than a coming-of-age story, this memoir tells the more universal truths about seeking a sense of belonging not found in her family with themes of shame, pride, secrecy, self-valuation, and self-acceptance explored in context of the culture and politics of that volatile period in American history.

“Evocative, compelling, terrifying, sad, and ultimately triumphant. A classic coming-of-age narrative about a woman who seeks a sense of belonging that she doesn’t find in her family or her body.” – Emily Rapp Black, Poster Child: A Memoir

“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 is a cutting-edge memoir that echoes today’s troubled times.” 5 stars

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Book Details

Weight 260 g
Dimensions 216 × 140 mm

200 pages







Release date

1 September 2020


Odyssey Books



About The Author

Jody A. Forrester

Jody A. Forrester

Jody A. Forrester was born and raised in Los Angeles during the uneasy Fifties and tumultuous Sixties. Her 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.

A retired chiropractor, Jody received a MFA from Bennington College in 2010. She lives in Venice, California, with her husband, John Schneider, a classical musician.

3 reviews for Guns Under the Bed: Memories of a Young Revolutionary

  1. Mary Reagan Richardson

    This memoir tells the story of a girl who loves to fight for a cause. We all know one. She’s the adventurous one that we all marvel at her bravery to step out against what is wrong. She’s the one who seems so sure of her beliefs and philosophy that it is easy to believe her. She’s also one of those girls who is crippled by self-loathing and self-confidence issues that no one sees but herself. Jody’s story is a story of that girl. It’s a story of how one’s strong beliefs and drive for change can get you recruited into a radical communist cell who hides guns under the bed and fights off the pigs (cops). Focusing on her life in the late 60s, Jody’s story gives us an inside look into what it was like to protest Vietnam and be a part of the radical left. It is a story not often told and profoundly endearing.

    I was enamored by her story. Not just of her college life in the Revolutionary Union, but also as a child. Her hardships and treatment make you want to jump through the book and give that little girl a hug. I loved how she bared her soul to us in a way only a true writer could. Her story has many parallels to what is going on in our world today and I highly recommend this memoir to everyone. Her story is powerful and will stick with you long after you’re done reading. I keep my review brief as not to spoil the story but I cannot recommend this enough. Her strength to tell her story is one that we all hope to have one day.”

  2. 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.

  3. Richard Ferry

    Guns Under the Bed: Memories of a young revolutionary by Jody Forrester is remarkable is many ways. Forrester’s writing is unpretentious, direct, unadorned and sometimes painful to read. Without blame, she describes how her emotional hunger growing up misunderstood in an emotionally barren family led to her general alienation from the mainstream culture of the era and what it had to offer. Without clichés, she captures the urgency of being alive and engaged from the late 60s to the mid 70s. Her growth from bewildered Los Angeles teen to peace-and-love hippie was a natural transition. For Jody, and many who lived through that era, the transition from hippie to political activist was inevitable, called into being by the needless destruction of the war in Vietnam and the twin tragedies of poverty and racism here at home. Driven by her passion to right these wrongs and her need for authentic, meaningful action, she submerged herself in a Maoist revolutionary organization. The relentless requirements of total acceptance of the organization’s discipline, selfless devotion to the working class and stringent self-scrutiny to eliminate all vestiges of bourgeoise individualism re-awakened the shame, self-doubt and isolation left over from her childhood and adolescence. The ideology that seemed to offer a protective home had become a suffocating catechism of obedience. Following a year of trying to reconcile her revolutionary obligations with her authentic feelings, a sudden cascade of bizarre events left her scapegoated by the leadership and driven out of the organization to which she had devoted herself. Jody was not a day tripper or a dilettante. She saw a hurting world and did her utmost to repair it. Her story of deep commitment, betrayal and ultimate rediscovery of her true self is moving and inspiring.

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