Reddit meter
all mentions

While I Was Gone

304 pages, 2000



1382 books

Jo Becker has every reason to be content. She has three dynamic daughters, a loving marriage, and a rewarding career. But she feels a sense of unease.

Then an old housemate reappears, sending Jo back to a distant past when she lived in a communal house in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Drawn deeper into her memories of that fateful summer in 1968, Jo begins to obsess about the person she once was.

As she is pulled farther from her present life, her husband, and her world, Jo struggles against becoming enveloped by her past and its dark secret.

The Power of the Past

In While I Was Gone, Sue Miller shows us how the past can have a powerful hold over the present. The protagonist, Jo Becker, finds herself drawn back into her old life, proving that it's not always easy to escape our past. This book encourages us to explore our own histories and see how they shape our present.

The Complexity of Relationships

Miller paints a vivid picture of the complexities of relationships, both romantic and platonic. Jo's relationship with her husband and her old friends are full of ups and downs, showing us that relationships are never black and white. It's a great reminder to look into our own relationships and appreciate their complexities.

The Struggle with Identity

Jo's struggle with her identity is a central theme in While I Was Gone. She's torn between her current life as a wife and mother, and her past life full of freedom and rebellion. This book encourages us to research our own identities and find a balance between who we were and who we are now.

The Consequences of Secrets

Sue Miller explores the consequences of keeping secrets in this book. Jo's secret past comes back to haunt her, causing turmoil in her life. This is a great reminder to be honest and open in our own lives, as secrets can often cause more harm than good.

The Importance of Forgiveness

In While I Was Gone, we see the importance of forgiveness. Jo must learn to forgive herself for her past mistakes and those who have wronged her. This book encourages us to check our own lives and see where we might need to extend forgiveness to ourselves or others.


authorOprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey

actorentrepreneurmedia personalityauthor
authorLena Dunham

Lena Dunham