Love, Sex, and 4-H (Made in Michigan Writers) (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

"Anne-Marie Oomen's memoir is exquisitely written.  She conveys the journey of a teenager gaining a sense of self in 1960's rural Michigan with a deftness of touch and an understanding of her former self that takes her work beyond the boundaries of simply 'memoir'.  Love, Sex and 4H is destined to become a classic of MidWest rural literature."

— Peter


A unique take on the tumultuous 1960s from a young woman growing up in rural Michigan.

As the 1960s dawned in small-town Michigan, Anne-Marie Oomen was a naive farm girl whose mother was determined to keep her out of trouble--by keeping her in 4-H. In Love, Sex, and 4-H, Oomen sets the wholesomeness of her domestic lessons in 4-H club from 1959 to 1969 against the political and sexual revolution of the time. Between sewing her first dish towel and finishing the yellow dress she wears to senior prom, Oomen brings readers along as she falls in and out of love, wins her first prize, learns to kiss, survives her first heartbreak, and makes almost all of her clothes.

Love, Sex, and 4-H begins as Oomen struggles to sew a straight seam and works hard to embody the 4-H pledge of loyalty, service, and better living. But even as she wins her first modeling competition and masters more difficult stitches and patterns, Oomen finds that she is not immune to the chaos of the outside world. After the Kennedy assassination, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and her own short stay in a convent, Oomen encounters the biggest change of all--public school. In this new world of school dances, short skirts, and raging hormones, Oomen's orderly life will be complicated by her first kiss, first boyfriend, first store-bought dress, and finally, first love. All the while, she must negotiate her mother's expectations, her identity as a good 4-H girl, and her awareness of growing social and political unrest.

Oomen brings an insightful and humorous eye to her evolving sexuality, religious beliefs, and sense of self. Fans of memoir will appreciate the honest portrayal of growing up between rebellion and tradition in Love, Sex, and 4-H.

About the Author

Anne-Marie Oomen is author of Pulling Down the Barn (Wayne State University Press, 2004) and House of Fields (Wayne State University Press, 2006)--both Michigan Notable Books--and Uncoded Woman. She serves as instructor at The Solstice MFA in Creative Writing at Pine Manor College, Interlochen's College of Creative Arts, and conferences throughout the country. She lives near Traverse City, Michigan.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780814340783
ISBN-10: 0814340784
Publisher: Wayne State University Press
Publication Date: April 1st, 2015
Pages: 136
Language: English
Series: Made in Michigan Writers