The essence of this three part story, Jeannie’s Story, Tom’s story, the Victors can be read in any order. The horrendous details of their past is so crushing the reader might like a quick look into their wonderful future together. How is it possible that two people coming from such diverse and destructive families can become whole and happy? Achieving freedom from the past requires inner growth. Meeting exactly the right person at the right time and falling in love can accomplish this almost magically. However, they had the ability to love and they had good luck.
Jeannie is attempting to get away from the horrifying almost incestuous violence of her father and her mother’s countenance of family violence. The young girl takes refuge with her admired professor of biology, Charlie Woods. Charlie is the victim of his past. He hates his father and the cult he is immersed in, Brothers in Christian Correction. Charlie hates his father so much that when he became adult he had a vasectomy to make sure that his father would never have grandchildren. His father attributed the lack of children to his mother year after year. He loved and despised his mother because she was too feeble to combat the open sneers of the Communality about her habit of reading books.
When he finds Jeannie sleeping in his office on at Saturday he is deeply upset. When he questions her he doesn’t believe her answer. He takes her to his home because he doesn’t want to be found questioning her. He is resentful of her young and beauty but at the same time lusts after her and actually rapes her. They live together and he forbids her to give money to her mother or to see her parents. He grooms her socially, artistically and financially. However she is too much like his mother shy and gentle consequently they part.
She lives alone in the YWCA. She is very successful illustrator of children’s stories. Her work attracts a psychiatrist who keeps his sadomasochist lusts unconscious. He seeks an introduction to her though a high society patron of the arts. He slowly wiggles himself into her work promising to make her more creative. When he wants to use her to enslave her girlfriend she suddenly realizes how horrifying he is. Jeannie castigates him as wicked and says she will bring a case against him. He laughs at that and says that she was never his patient. So she can’t touch him. Jeannie runs away and doesn’t rest until she buys a house of her own now that she is free. For Jeannie the action of buying her own house is an act of defiance because she accomplished by herself and for herself without any man directing her.
The hero, Tom is also a victim of his past. He grows up under the scorn of his mother. His mother is a stunning beauty and dominates any man in her life except her second husband. Tom wants to be as good a man as his stepfather and tries to model himself after him. Tom gets away from her when he joins the U. S. Army goes over to fight the Nazis. He goes through all of the five great battles of the second World War. When he is about discharged he discovered that all the men in his Division had to see a psychiatrist before they can be discharged. A hundred and fifty-five days on the line without rest never should have happened to you or any of the other men in your Division!
Alter the war Tom becomes a successful builder. He goes back to work as skilled employee of a remodeling company. Jeannie employs the remodeling company and they send Tom oversee the work. Both Jeannie and Tom are reluctant to acknowledge their interest in each other. Jeannie, the artist and the builder work together even though at first they cannot believe that they were meant for each other. They suddenly realize the dimensions of their love for each other. At first neither can believe the power of their love for each. However they now realize that it is real and dependable. They have grown beyond their destructive pasts.