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Big Sex Little Death: A Memoir Hardcover – March 22, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Susie Bright is a one-woman counterculture, a teenaged socialist revolutionary turned Reagan-era sexual freedom fighter. In this lively, bittersweet memoir, she recounts a life full of political and erotic adventures and betrayals, a life at once deeply subversive and totally American, defined as it is by the idea that people should be free to express and pursue their own visions of happiness, no matter how uncomfortable it makes the prigs and scolds among us." — Tom Perotta, author of Little Children and Election

"Susie Bright's real life is just as compelling—more compelling—than her sex life. And that's saying something." — Dan Savage

"I have a very scary feeling Susie Bright is not making any of this up. Guns, drugs, threesomes, socialist factionalism, a stabbing . . . all before she got her G.E.D.?" — Alison Bechdel, author of Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

"Big Sex Little Death is subtle, hot, enthralling, raw and tender—I loved it. Susie Bright is a national treasure." — Josh Marshall, Editor and Publisher, Talking Points Memo

"The best-named writer in America, Susie Bright has written a witty, wise, and enlightening memoir." — Erica Jong

About the Author

Susie Bright is the author of national bestsellers, Full Exposure and The Sexual State of the Union—as well as The Best American Erotica and Herotica series, which ushered in women’s erotic publishing. She the host of Audible’s In Bed With Susie Bright, the beloved and longest running sex education show in the history of broadcasting. She was co-founder and editor of On Our Backs magazine, and was the first journalist to cover erotic cinema and the porn business in the mainstream press. A progenitor of the sex-positive movement, Bright taught the first university course on pornography, and brought lasting sexual influence to her role in films like Bound and The Celluloid Closet. She has one daughter, Aretha Bright, and lives with her partner, Jon Bailiff. She currently resides in Santa Cruz, California.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Seal Press (March 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580052649
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580052641
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,614,143 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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: http://susiebright.com

My weekly show on Audible:
"In Bed With Susie Bright": http://www.audible.com/susiebright

Customer Reviews

I found this book to be an amazing read.
Stephanie Manley
The book is well written, and I found the time period Susie life span covers a fascinating backdrop.
Suzinne Barrett
Yet the mom thing will always define Susie Bright for me.
Dan E. Nicholas

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Federico (Fred) Moramarco VINE VOICE on 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 By Dan E. Nicholas on 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 By R. Hardy HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on May 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover
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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