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Janet Duffy, a spunky, seventeen-year-old Irish girl, is eager to start college―but instability between her alcoholic father and self-absorbed mother jeopardize her dream, so she sets up her own apartment with her younger sister in Jamaica, Queens, and treks to City College in Manhattan, New York. The routine is deadening, but she finds purpose in the black community, working for a mural painter and volunteering for a civil rights activist.

After turning eighteen, Janet marches with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and falls for a young black saxophone player, Carmen. Her father, a policeman, explodes over their relationship, so Janet rebels―runs away with the jazz musician, and then winds up in the East Village in the Summer of Love. In the ensuing months she deals with heartbreak, sexual harassment, poverty, and danger―but eventually, she asks for the help she needs in order to pick up the pieces of her life and return to her dream.

What People Are Saying

It takes rare courage to be this vulnerable, honest, and authentic in a memoir. With heart wide open, Janet reveals herself as a girl whose path was driven by intellect, curiosity, and a quest for justice. The history she weaves into her personal story gives gravity to the book. A compelling story.

Denise Keyes Page, Executive Director and Racial Justice and Empathy Facilitator, Ubuntu Storytellers

Conflicted and triumphant, Janet Luongo’s memoir of 1967 will leave you a changed person. Unafraid to dig beneath platitudes about racial justice, troubled teenagers, artists at risk—this book speaks eloquently to dilemmas we have yet to resolve. Each page is crafted with honesty and passion. Truthful details about the Sixties will challenge young and not-so-young alike. Luongo’s book is like a masterful painting: it lingers in the mind’s eye and creates its own unique light.

Vera Schwarcz, Professor of Chinese Studies at Wesleyan University and Hebrew University, received a Guggenheim Fellowship and authored Bridge Across Broken Time: Chinese and Jewish Cultural Memory; and Colors of Veracity

Now is the best time for this memoir to come out. Janet has an important message to deliver.

Sonja Ahuja, Capacity Building and Training Partner, Co-Creating Effective and Inclusive Organizations (CEIO)

What if we all had one explosive, pivotal, life-changing year like Janet experienced at the brink of adulthood! Hopefully, we, too, would look back, as Janet had done, with affection for our younger self. I especially enjoyed the weaving in of the history of this year with her personal stories of relationships with friends, lovers and family. Janet boldly recounts painful situations that left her wiser, and she is even able to find the humor in the inevitable stumbling of youth. All done with love and a desire to change the world!

Jamie Forbes, former special education teacher, and past director of family faith development at the Unitarian Church in Westport, CT