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Odyssey of a Gemini: Autobiography of a Baby Boomer
by B K
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Reviewed by: Maurice Williams
Odyssey of a Gemini is an interesting autobiography of someone who lived through and participated in the sexual revolution and the drug explosion of the 1960's that shook the American culture to the core. The author lived during the Vietnam War years, one of the most turbulent times in America's history. He grew up in Newton MA, near Boston and the Canadian border. His father's uncle was a revolutionary war hero, participating in the Boston Tea Party. His paternal grandmother was an ordained Methodist minister, the first woman minister ever in Canada. One of her relatives took part in the charge of The Light Brigade. The author lived in cork city, an Irish Catholic neighborhood, but his family was English and Methodist.
In his early teens, the author became involved with drugs, free sex, and also, so early in his life, in an "insider trading" scam involving the stock market. His friends divided themselves into three groups: collegiate, greaser, or hippy. He chose hippy. His parents were elderly when he was born: his mother was forty-two and his father was forty-four. He mentions going to church with his girlfriend, but they merely held hands; they did not pay attention to the service. It's probably not surprising that he got swept along with the sexual revolution and the drug culture.
Late in life, he had some misgivings about his choices. He criticizes our culture for "trying to explain away Creation despite the fact that millions believe in the Gospels." His high school was considered progressive using new teaching methods, but he came to believe that those methods weren't very effective. He still can't spell correctly. He is also critical about Hollywood movies expressing their dogma about the Vietnam War in movies such as: Apocalypse Now, Platoon, and Full Metal Jacket.
When he was still a teenager, a friend encouraged him to start selling drugs, and they became partners. The author then began to live the life style of a drug dealer, and he spent quite a few years in this criminal activity. During the author's career as a drug pusher, he got shot during a drug deal gone wrong, and he chanced upon a drug supplier, who still owed him the drugs he paid for, dead in his rented flat, murdered by some other drug pusher.
As he was leading this double life, he began to realize that he is showing two different mindsets, one when he is pushing drugs, the other when he is not. He called this condition as being a Gemini, which is his way of describing split personality. He thought he represented a textbook case of twins. His criminal persona was Machiavellian. He was known as Al when he was pushing drugs, but this personality was much different than his normal persona, where he was known as Bert, who was altruistic and magnanimous. The author was careful not to mix his two personae, but he does not recall consciously turning one off and the other one on. He mentions the movie Three Faces of Eve, when explaining his condition. It is interesting how the author explains his own split personality. This dual personality was an important phenomenon in the author's life, which is reflected in his title for the book: Odyssey of a Gemini. The author also compares the human brain to a super computer that can freeze and stop functioning. He states that if one's mind has more than it can handle, it will simply shut down. This would be a nervous breakdown.
When the author was fifteen, he and his girlfriend discovered sex. The seventies produced a generation that embraced free sex. The author took "full advantage of women's willingness and availability." To his credit, the author does not describe any lurid details of his sexual experiences. He opines: "Drugs and sex don't mix, or at least narcotics and sex don't mix. Black beauties or any type of speed rendered me impotent." He no longer needed water to take pills. He began ingesting five pills at a time. When he was nineteen, he married his first wife, a twenty-six year old, and they settled in Boston. When his wife became pregnant, their baby was delivered by C-Section. The child wound up having life-threatening spinal problems and required an operation. Two more operations were performed, but the child died anyway. The hospital billed the author close to $40,000.00, which was much more than the author could afford. This tragic loss and the horrendous debt scarred the author for the rest of his life.
His marriage fell apart. After he filed for divorce, he met a former woman friend. They had sex the first night and started a frenzied love affair for the next couple of months. This woman was involved with a group of feminists. It took author nearly a year before he came to the conclusion that these feminists "enjoyed the equality portion with men but were not on board when it came to the responsibility that went with it." And all of them took pot. Marriage was discussed but the woman had given up on men and had turned to another woman who had been straight before. She and the second woman had a six-month sexual affair. Then the second woman broke it off and married her boyfriend. Abandoned by her lover, the author's friend turned to him but remained bi-sexual.
The author's first wife phoned out of the blue. She was pregnant and is thinking of marrying her boyfriend. The author had already filed for divorce, but it will take a few months before it is final. His first wife asked if the author could get a faster divorce. The author called a lawyer friend for advice. The friend told the author to go to the Fresh Pond Circle Travel Agency and purchase a vacation package that included getting a divorce in an all-inclusive travel package in Haiti for $2,800, a surprising and innovative way to get a quickie divorce during the sexual revolution. The author got divorced in Haiti, and the author then married his woman friend.
This new wife eventually got tired of the author. They went to a marriage counselor. The wife was mostly unhappy with a restaurant they jointly owned. The counselor wasn't any help, which only confused and disappointed the author. The author opines that psychology "is more often than not a stab in the dark and is little more than guesswork put forth by over educated intellectuals who are desperate for an explanation."
Author states in his forward that what started out as a desire to write his story for his children gradually became a compulsion. He felt certain he revealed more than his children imagined, and probably feels embarrassed about it. I can sympathize with these feelings. I think many people today reveal too much about themselves on Facebook, My Space, and You Tube. Once the information is posted, it is almost impossible to retract it. He asks in his epilogue: "Did you enjoy this book? I rather doubt it." "Core principles are not debatable and remain nonnegotiable regardless of the face we present for the world to see." "Until we come to grips with what we truly are we will never achieve a manner of inner peace." He opines that when he was young, he felt that wisdom would be granted him when he became older. But when he became older, he realized he had more questions than answers. During his life of sex and drugs, he claims he discovered that true evil really does exist in the world. I have that impression also. I really think there's a spiritual dimension to the presence of evil in the world that requires God's help to defeat.
I think, if author is troubled when looking down his ancestral line towards his children and grandchildren, and asks himself "What have I done revealing all of this?" it seems to me that good can come from this book. The author was involved in a war more deadly than the Revolutionary War and the Crimean War his ancestors were involved in, and his children and grandchildren are likely to be involved in an even more deadly phase of this same war between good and evil. I think Gemini's experiences (Gemini is the author) with good and evil in his life could forewarn those who read his book: his children, grandchildren, and friends what it is like being caught up in this struggle and experiencing the emptiness that usually comes from a wayward and sensual life. I think the author would do well to look up to God and bare his soul once again to someone who loves him and wants the best for him and who will heal him.
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