The Company You Keep by Neil Gordon

The year is 2006. Seventeen-year-old Isabel Montgomery begins to receive emails from her father, the man whose secrets forever altered her life at the tender age of 7 when a newspaper reporter exposes him, resulting in him abandoning her in a New York City hotel room. Through these emails, sent to her by her father and other members of "The Committee," Isabel learns that her father, Jason Sinai, had been living under a false identity to escape facing charges stemming from a robbery gone wrong in 1974.

As the story unfolds, all of her family's secrets will be revealed - her father's involvement in Weather, a Vietnam anti-war movement; her mother's drug problems, the discovery a half-sister, and the real reason why her father abandoned her all those years before. However, these emails also serve another purpose - her father and "The Committee" will also ask something of Isabel, something that will force her decide the company she will keep.

I liked this book. The story is interesting and full of twists and turns. Neil Gordon does a good job weaving all the different narratives together and the story comes full circle in the end. While enjoying the book's historical references, I have to admit that I have not studied the anti-war movements of the 1960s and 1970s in great detail. I had never heard of the Weather Underground Organization (a.k.a. Weather) and had to Google it to see if it was even a real thing. An understanding of the historical references, while providing an interesting context, are not entirely essential to being able to follow the story. There are enough explanation in the story to provide context, without turning into a history lesson.

The book was turned into a movie, starring and directed by Robert Redford, and I am curious to see how it compares to the novel when it is finally released on DVD.


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