Never Guilty, Never Free by Ginny Foat, Laura Foreman

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Never Guilty, Never Free

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Ginny Foat made headlines in 1983 when she was charged with having participated in a murder in 1965. At the time, Foat was considering running for the national presidency of NOW. The resulting publicity ended her political ambitions, even though her jury took less than two hours to acquit her. Foat wrote this book to tell her side of the story and to help pay her legal debts.

Born Virginia Galluzzo in 1941 and reared in a traditional Italian-American family in New Paltz, New York, Foat led a troubled young adulthood which featured an annulled marriage, a secret abortion, and a few years of promiscuity until she met Jack Sidote, a flashy, small-town bartender. Foat tells how she spent the next five years as Jack’s battered wife, receiving her first beating on their honeymoon. She tells of Sidote’s apparent murder of a New Orleans tourist and his conviction for manslaughter in California.

With her husband in prison, Foat was able to break free from his spell. She married again, attended her first NOW meeting in 1974, and found that she possessed hidden talents which enabled her to become a successful businesswoman and political activist. At that point, Sidote brought her world crashing down.

Autobiographies, by their nature, are selective, but while Foat admits repressing many incidents in her degrading life with Sidote, she is frank about her failings, and her story carries the ring of truth. This is a moving, readable story which will appeal not only to feminists, but to all readers interested in personal, human drama.