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She's a Rebel

After the death of his Mennonite-turned-Marxist mother, Peter Andreas ’87 discovered more than a hundred of her journals from the late ’60s to the mid-’80s, detailing her thoughts, fears, and adventures. Piecing together her words and his memories, Andreas wrote Rebel Mother: My Childhood Chasing the Revolution (Simon & Schuster), painting a vivid portrait of a mother-son relationship that spans continents and cultures. 

The John Hay Professor of International Studies at Brown University, Andreas excels illuminating the historical and political climate of 1970s Latin America writ large as well as at the level of family relations, unconventional motherly love, and childhood innocence. You feel as if you are in the same room as these people and their world: Life in communes and Peruvian slums, the Chilean coup, his parents’ custody battles, and his mother’s sexual escapades are all engrossingly told. And yet, for all the Latin American political history that the book covers, you never lose sight of Andreas’s voice as a child attempting to make sense of it all.

Although Andreas skims over some tantalizingly fascinating periods—such as his time spent traveling Peru as a street performer—Rebel Mother is highly compelling and a rewarding read—as well as a resonant reminder of what, for many, is one of life's most formative relationships.  

Adrián Gras-Velázquez is a visiting assistant professor in the Spanish Department.

+READ a Q&A with Peter Andreas ’87