Sonja Larsen


Red Star Tattoo, the title of my memoir comes from the time I spent as a teenage radical. Some of the founding members inside the secret revolutionary organization I’d joined had home-made red star tattoos. And even after I began to suspect that instead of becoming a revolutionary I’d become a cult member, even after I finally escaped, I found myself wishing I had gotten that tattoo.

“I wanted some proof of where I’d been, proof it all happened. If not the truth, then at least this. Evidence. A testament to my faith, a scar to remember it by.”

I didn’t actually get my red star tattoo until I had a copy of my book in my hands. I was afraid of jinxing it. It took thirty years but getting the tattoo felt like a transformative gesture. It was about reclaiming the experiences that shaped me growing up, and sharing the stories I’d kept hidden from other people, and even myself. Whenever I look at it I’m reminded that life is going to leave its mark on you, and you can either try to hide it like a scar or wear it like a tattoo.


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Red star Tattoo

Sonja Larsen