By Sarah McClelland McMullen. Self-published, 2020. 296 pages. $14.99/paperback; $6.99/eBook.
I have a fondness for memoirs, and for ones that span the decades of my own life, there is added interest. Most humans would agree that family life has its blessings as well as its difficulties; for those of us who grew up during the tumultuous ʼ60s and ʼ70s, some of the turbulence is unique. McMullen grew up in those times, when questioning and seeking were heavily influenced by hippie culture. Exposure to Eastern religions was, if not new, wildly popular. The interstate highway system was built, and traveling around the continental United States became popular among young seekers. The military draft accelerated antiwar sentiment, and TV broadcast heightened awareness of the urgency of the Civil Rights Movement in the South. The women’s movement, birth control, and legalized abortion redrew the landscape for young people and all women.
All of this came to land in the hearts and minds of young people growing up in the ʼ60s and ʼ70s, and it was an elixir that McMullen, like millions of young people, imbibed without knowing it. It was simply in the air. Memoirs like Born East-West bring it all back or, for young readers, paint a picture of a unique time to grow up.