While I Was Gone Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of While I Was Gone

Jo rushed into marriage and a career as a teacher only to find she was vaguely dissatisfied, enough to run away from both. She joins a commune in 1960s Cambridge with several men and two other women who are students and professionals. After giving a pseudonym and finding work as a cocktail waitresses, she experiences life in the immediate and builds a friendship with one of the women, Dana, a sensitive and artistic woman. One night coming home from her late shift, she enters the door and finds Dana brutally murdered.
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After divorcing her husband and finding love with her second, a minister, Jo has three daughters, one of who is estranged -- mostly from her. Recovering from the turmoil of the murder, she had returned home to Maine and studied to become a veternarian. Practicing in her small town, one of her grown daughters refers a professor whose dog is having problems. After reviewing the case, she determines that the dog needs intensive care or euthansia but more importanly, the professor is not the dog's owner. The owner is Eli Mayhew, the professor's husband, and a former housemate where Dana was killed.

Jo finds herself eagerly looking forward to seeing Eli again, to relive her youth, and to review her past. After putting down Eli's dog, she feels an odd kindling of appeal for this former roommate in spite of his former geekish reputation. She pursues a relationship in spite of her happy marriage to a kind and gentle man, Daniel. Jo and Eli meet several times and discuss their past with increasing interpersonal tension.
The review of this Book prepared by g jensen

Thirty years after a violent crime takes the life of her dear friend, Jo Becker is forced to recall and reexamine the tragedy she has tried so hard to leave behind. Confronted with her past through a chance encounter of a former roommate, Jo must choose between her life then and now, between her husband and her craving for excitement, and between her sense of duty to her past and her present.
The review of this Book prepared by NG

Jo Becker is a middle-aged veterinarian who has settled in the country with her husband, a few dogs and a newly empty nest. When someone from her past moves to town, she becomes obsessed with events from another time in her life, secrets she kept then, and secrets she keeps now.
The review of this Book prepared by Lisa West

Jo Becker is an ordinary woman who is seeking a place of inner mooring in a world that still regards the dark impulses of the psyche as things to be feared and disdained. Her tragedy at midlife is that she has found no language through which to make a relationship with her own conflicting selves--and that she projects her "good" selves onto family members who are all too eager to vilify her. In the end, her attempt to find integrity--by reconciling with her past, by daring to flirt with her erotic self, and by going to the police with what she knows--is met with a stark reality that is too easily overlooked by the undiscerning reader: Misogyny is as alive and well in 1999 as it was in 1968.
The review of this Book prepared by Daphne Stevens,Ph.D

Chapter Analysis of While I Was Gone

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   thoughtful Time/era of story    -   1960's-1970's Romance/Romance Problems    -   Yes Kind of romance:    -   rekindling lost love/marriage Crime & Police story    -   Yes Story of    -   catching a killer Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Lover is    -   extremely shy

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   doctor Age:    -   40's-50's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American)


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   4 () United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references only

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