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Big Sex Little Death: A Memoir [Kindle Edition]

Susie Bright
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $24.95
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  • Length: 412 pages
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Book Description

Ever wondered why there’s no female voice as bold, erotic, unflinching, and revealing as Norman Mailer, Henry Miller, or Philip Roth? There is. It belongs to Susie Bright.

In this stunning and courageous coming-of-age story, Susie Bright opens her heart and her life. From fearful Irish Catholic Girl Scout to gun-toting teenage revolutionary—and finally the "The Avatar of American Erotica" (NYTimes)—Bright’s life story is shaped as much by America’s sexual awakening as the national sexual landscape was altered by Bright herself.

In Big Sex Little Death, Bright introduces us to her influences and experiences, including her early involvement with notorious high school radicals The Red Tide as well as the magazine she co-founded in the 1980s, On Our Backs—the first-ever erotic magazine created by women, which turned the lesbian and bisexual community upside down before it took the "straight" world by storm.

Big Sex Little Death is an explosive yet intimate memoir that’s pure Susie: bold, free-spirited, unpredictable—larger than life, yet utterly true to life.

Editorial Reviews


"Susie Bright is the Emma Goldman of our time."
--LA Weekly

"Best Books of 2011" --San Francisco Chronicle

"My 10 Favorite NonFiction Reads of 2011"-Richard LaBonte, BookMarks
"BSLD delivers entertaining and influential political/sexual revolution."
--Vanity Fair
"Rollicking, Vibrant!"

"Deliciously radical."
--Ariel Gore, Psychology Today

"Heady, hilarious, heartbreaking."
--Bay Guardian

"One of the bravest and sharpest sex writers of our time."

"How does a cocky woman write such a ballsy memoir?"
--Daily Rumpus

"Reading Bright is the equivalent of seeing her at your local farmers' market wearing *This is What A Sex-Positive Feminist Looks Like* t-shirt.This is a good thing."

"The stories she tells are dramatic, violent, passionate-- but it's the writing here that is the most stunning."

"Characteristically frank, often startling."
--Chicago Sun-Times

"Titillating, arousing and salacious are words not normally ascribed to a writer's memoir, unless, of course, that writer happens to be Susie Bright."
--Larry Mantle, Airtalk

From the Inside Flap

In this stunning and courageous coming-of-age story, Susie Bright opens up her heart and her life.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1873 KB
  • Print Length: 412 pages
  • Publisher: Bright Stuff (March 6, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004QWZC4M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #563,196 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Bright Book of a Woman's Life March 4, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I've admired Susie Bright's candid, direct, and wide open sexual expression for a great many years, from her early writing in the lesbian tabloid "On Our Backs" right through to her current blog [...]. Here is a woman who took on a number of risky and controversial causes, especially the celebration of a bawdy and earthy female bisexuality with a primarily lesbian identity, against the anti-sex prophets of what I would call the right wing of the feminist movement--people like Andrea Dworkin and Katherine McKinnon and much of the male-bashing academic feminist establishment. Dworkin, who died in 2005, once argued that heterosexual intercourse itself was a form of rape.

I'm also one of her thousands of Facebook friends and regard her site as one of the best portals to the good things going on on the internet--politically, socially, and erotically. Like me she regards most internet pornography as tediously bad and knows how to distinguish between honesty and in-authenticity in sexuality better than anyone that I know. As a long time editor of "The Best American Erotica" and many other collections of sexually-oriented writing, she also knows how to distinguish between good imaginative writing and porno hack jobs.

She has now published a memoir called "Big Sex, Little Death," and it is a revelation, because it goes beyond the persona created in her erotica and gives us a detailed portrait of the cerebral, radical, flesh and blood person she is and where the components that make up her identity come from.

Susie Bright, the name is perfect for her--kind of oozing intelligence and light--is the only child of Elizabeth Halloran and William Bright, born in Arlington, Virginia in the late 1950's.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big Mom, Little Daughter April 5, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It's not often you read a memoir where more than half the book has rolled by and the author has not yet reached the ripe old age of 17. Indeed, 3/4ths of Big Sex Little Death has pinballed down Bright's Lombard Street life before college reaches 2nd gear. This is Susie Bright. The sex, the love of art and truth, the self discovery, the justice and family thing--it's all on fire here in a delightfully naughty history lesson. Yet the guns and the blood in her tale, even the bullhorn drone and the human seed running down her teenage leg and life remain eclipsed by her passion for the simple call of truth telling.

Yes, and the mom thing. Her station as daughter and mom in this life continues to set her apart as a thinker and writer in the realm of sexual politics and publishing. Among sex talkers and writers aplenty these day she's one of a handful who have braved motherhood and lived to tell the sex part of the story openly.

I found her childhood account uncommon only in the severity with which she embraced it all, finding a way to survive with a heart childlike and open. Indeed, I was surprised to learn that it was her success with thin skin poetry that opened the first door for her in publishing. A great encouragement here for young writers. Yet the mom thing will always define Susie Bright for me. It's how she sees herself to this day. Having one, being one. She's a true traditional untraditionalist. We listen to her because she lives where we all have lived as sons and daughters. But she does it all never selling out her eroticism from youth to middle age.

Perhaps the funniest part of this hardbound book is its color: black and white. A little joke no doubt.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Susie's Sex and Socialism May 16, 2011
Though she has written other books, and has been open about sexual matters (and eager to help others out with sexual issues; she wasn't called Susie Sexpert for nothing), Susie Bright has capped her previous works now with heartfelt and illuminating recollections in _Big Sex Little Death: A Memoir_ (Seal Press). Bright is one of the people who has shaped current American sexuality. She was an advisor for (and had a cameo role in) the Wachowski Brothers lesbian-themed film _Bound_, for instance, and helped found the first US magazine of lesbian erotica. Though she has produced her own lesbian porn, and was enthusiastically lesbian in her twenties, she has been out as a bisexual ever since she was a teenager, and at 32 she had a daughter and even settled down with a guy. There is plenty of coverage of her sexual exploits here, and some of the encounters are steamy. There aren't enough of them, however, to repay the effort of just flipping the pages to find "the good parts." Instead, Bright has written mostly about her extraordinarily difficult upbringing and her years as a youthful activist for socialism. The time she was behind the counter at the Good Vibrations toy store is here, as is her founding and editing of the magazine _On Our Backs_, and her heartbreak of letting that effort go. There's not much about her advice columns, or her feminist reviews of erotic films, or her current weekly audio program _In Bed with Susie Bright_, or her website, or her blog. She's been busy; this funny, wide-eyed, and poignant memoir is bound to get sequels.

Bright was born in 1958, with parents she now says, looking back, "were far more radical than I am, because of basic changes in their generation." She is proud of both parents, even her mother who abused her.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars big disappointment
I had really high hopes for this memoir, but found it impossible to connect with. Bright's experiences as a teenage socialist growing up in the 70's, and then becoming an editor of... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Rabbit_With_Fangs
5.0 out of 5 stars I've wanted to learn more about this era
Not as sexy as the title implies (though she is frank about her sexual experiences) but she's lived an interesting life and has had experiences worth reading about. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Angela
2.0 out of 5 stars Misleading
This memoir isn't as much about Susie the sex radical or Susie Sexpert as it is a memoir about Susie the teenager, Susie idealistic but naive marxist. Read more
Published 21 months ago by M. D.
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging and fascinating, Susie Bright tells all
I was not expecting this book to be as literate, as well-written, as articulate and as interesting as it turns out to be. Read more
Published 21 months ago by worldwriter
4.0 out of 5 stars An amazing life and a spell binding read
I found this book to be an amazing read. This book is about a women that had to grow up and live her life by reinventing herself. Why did she continually reinvent herself? Read more
Published on April 20, 2013 by Stephanie Manley
2.0 out of 5 stars not impressed
I hate to talk bad about a published author but I don't know anyone except people who know people who are talked about in the book who would be interested in this. I wasn't.
Published on February 12, 2013 by Mizry D'Lot
1.0 out of 5 stars a busy life
A memoir of a chaotic life. Best parts were about her parents, they seemed like interesting people, but rather challenging.
Published on December 20, 2012 by LL Graham
5.0 out of 5 stars Think you know Susie Bright? Read this now.
Susie Bright is known throughout the world for her writing, her politics, her opinions, and her expertise on sexuality. Read more
Published on December 4, 2012 by A. Whitney
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read! Well written and very entertaining.
Thought that this book was extremely well written and entertaining. I am drawn to memoirs for some reason, and the honesty and humor that Susie used was refreshing. Read more
Published on November 14, 2012 by KerryO
4.0 out of 5 stars Good background filler for readers of Susie Bright
She recounts her early upbringing which helps fuse her parents characters and their influence upon her later in the book. Read more
Published on May 15, 2012 by Bean Slap
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More About the Author

I'm an author, editor, publisher, performer, sex and culture critic.

I'm Editor-at-Large at Audible, acquiring and producing audiobooks from favorite titles on my bookshelf.

I live in Santa Cruz, CA.

My blog is:

My weekly show on Audible:
"In Bed With Susie Bright":


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