Rocks in Her Head (Or How I Became a Rolling Stone)
by Helen Liss Ivanhoe Smart
Trafford Publishing

"As in so many oil company families, the husband went off to his new position and the wife remained behind..."

Rocks in Her Head is an incredible story of one woman's courageous travels amid a whirlwind marriage to a geologist who "was widely known in the petroleum industry as a well-published author" on the world's declining oil reserves. When Helen's stepson is taken to juvenile hall for stealing chemicals from his California high school chemistry lab, her mortified husband's response is to flee. And flee is exactly what he does after leaving a stable job with Standard Oil (now British Petroleum, BP) to travel as an independent contractor, taking Helen along, to places such as Israel, Turkey, and Egypt. But for Helen, that was just the beginning of her adventures. Smart's third memoir is a seemingly unending gypsy ride sparked from this unforeseen family issue.

Helen Liss Ivanhoe Smart narrates about her sixteen-year experience as a rootless wanderer, traveling—many times alone—to countries during precarious times. Set between 1964 and 1980, Smart candidly admits her geographical and political naiveté while observing tension between Jewish and Arab countries as oil companies were vying for oil reserves, political conflict in the U.S.S.R., Libya, Mexico, and Columbia, as well as her memorable thirty-day solo trip to the Orient before settling in California. Her matter-of-fact storytelling catches readers off guard when she mentions the many foreign situations that could have easily turned fatal, such as the time she was surrounded by male onlookers while sunbathing. Each chapter includes captivating page turns filled with Helen's endless experiences that are aptly laced with rich historical information. Although Helen alludes to tensions in her marriage at times throughout her narrative, it is not until the closing chapters that she brings to light the full picture of the relationship. Written from the heart, Rocks in Her Head is nothing less than an absolutely a fascinating read.

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