2011/10/06

A Review of Deena Stryker's Lunch with Fellini, Dinner with Fidel


Ebook available from Girlebooks .

Full disclosure: I've known Deena for awhile, having worked on her website and I saw much of the material that she used in this, her autobiography, before she wrote it.

The theme of an independent woman, striking out on her own and blazing her own path is by now a familiar one, but this ebook is a very well-done tale of a woman doing just that in the early 1960s. Deena Stryker sets the tone of the book early on as she describes being 15 years old in 1949 and being on a train in Germany and being confronted by a train conductor over her lack of a “Tripartite Pass.” She never heard of such a thing before or since, but the way in which she handled her confrontation with the conductor was striking and showed someone who was ready to fearlessly confront the world.

Deena was aware of the “women's lib movement” in the early 60s, but didn't have a lot of contact with it. She spent most of her early decades shuttling around between her native Philadelphia, Europe (Paris, Rome and several countries behind the Iron Curtain) and Fidel Castro's Cuba. She gained great sympathy for the viewpoints of Communists. The Cuban government was so pleased with her piece on them in the French magazine Paris Match, that she was invited back to Cuba to conduct more interviews, but she was always more ideologically in tune with West European Social Democrats.

Before Deena went to Cuba, she wrote a book about the Italian film director Federico Fellini and followed him around while he made the movie 8 ½. She saw the making of the film in up-close detail, but was still quite impressed by Fellini's talent when she saw the film again 13 years later.

Deena has two sons, but she remained single. She made it into the US Government as a speech writer to the Assistant Secretary of State for Cultural Affairs under President Jimmy Carter. She lives today in Philadelphia and still keeps up with world and political affairs enough to maintain the blog http://otherjones.com/.

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