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Drinking the Rain Unknown Binding – January 1, 1996

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Unknown Binding, January 1, 1996


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Product Details

  • Unknown Binding
  • Publisher: Penguin Books NY 1996 (1996)
  • ASIN: B003TMGCY4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

More About the Author

Raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Alix attended public schools and planned to be a lawyer like her dad. But in college at Case Western Reserve University she was smitten by philosophy and upon graduation moved to New York City to study philosophy at Columbia grad school. After some years as an encyclopedia editor, she enrolled at New York University, where she took a degree in mathematics, and later, while raising two children, an MA in Humanities.

She became a civil rights activist in 1961 and a feminist activist in 1967, published her first book in 1970, and taught her first class in 1973--all lifelong pursuits that have found their way into her books.

Having explored in her novels the challenges of youth and midlife, in her memoirs she has probed the later stages in the ongoing drama of her generation of women, taking on the terrors and rewards of solitude, of her parents' final years, and of her late-life calling as caregiver to her beloved husband, with whom she lives in New York City.

She is the author of:

five novels:
Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen
Burning Questions
On the Stroll
In Every Woman's Life...

three memoirs:
Drinking the Rain
A Good Enough Daughter
To Love What Is: A Marriage Transformed

selected essays:
A Marriage Agreement and Other Essays: Four Decades of Feminist Writing

two books on the anarchist-feminist Emma Goldman:
To the Barricades (biography)
Red Emma Speaks (collection)

and three books for children:
Bosley on the Number Line
Awake and Asleep
Finders Keepers.

For more information, see AlixKShulman.com.

Customer Reviews

There's helplessness, anger, hope and love and inspiration.
Lynn Harnett
This book has become one of my all time favorites-- I am sending it to all my 50+ year-old friends for them to enjoy!
Karolyn J. Carpenter
She recognizes every herb, every edible berry, and knows just how to cook them.
Story Circle Book Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Alex Nichols, author of Shadow Rock on April 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
I must confess I almost couldn't get through "Drinking the Rain". Kates Shulman's account of a citified feminist's return to nature seemed an unintential parody, not helped by the comically overstated title. But midway through Ms. Shulman's story I became hooked. What seemed at first a pretentious and self-important rant transformed into a thoughtful and evocotive musing on what it is to be an artist. Ironically, it's only after Shulman returned to the city (and later goes to teach in Colorado) that the book came alive for me. Her descriptions of dinner with an old feminist friend left me teary eyed at their simple eloquence, and the descriptions of a snowy Colorado reunion with her kids kept me reading. By the end, I adored this story.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Harnett VINE VOICE on May 23, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Ten years ago Shulman went to her family's primitive cabin on Long Island, Maine, for a summer of solitude. A New Yorker through and through, she was apprehensive and fearful, but also excited and determined. Her life was vaguely dissatisfying and she was looking for a change.
Reading her memoir is like having a personal conversation with the author. Her tone is personal and intimate. When she stands back for a moment, picturing herself through a passing stranger's averted eye - a middle-aged lady in floppy hat and mismatched tennis shoes, gathering weeds in a basket - we too are startled and amused, having been looking from the inside out.
Shulman, recognized for her novels and feminism, reaches her cross-roads at age 50. Her children are grown, her relationship with her husband is a distant truce, the feminist movement has stalled, and her life is overfull of busyness.
But the birth of a new passion in her life is serendipitous. Always an adventurous cook, she finds her lengthy trips to the uninspiring island grocery a jarring intrusion on her pleasing solitude and a chore contrary to her new motto, "Do only what you like, nothing you don't!"
From years before she remembers mussel gathering, one of the few pleasures of the hurried vacations she had always hated. In those years, with small children and a domineering, orchestrating husband, the summer cabin, with no electicity or plumbing had meant a round of endless drudgery.
Now that she has only to please herself, mussel hunting is merely the first of her pleasures. Around her a world unfolds. Armed with Euell Gibbons and determination, she reaps the bounty of wild things, spending her days in exploration and discovery.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A. Brecher on September 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
Shulman raises many provocative ideas in her memoir. Among the ones that affected me most profoundly are Solitude, Rebirth, Self-Sufficiency, and the utilization of the resources in your own environment.
If you've ever feared that the possibilities for excitement, adventure, wonderment, or simply change- shrink with age, you will be inspired by Shulman's resolve to continue searching for meaning and discovery in her life at fifty and well beyond. What courage to embark on a new and thoroughly independent life after decades of playing the role of wife and mother. But Shulman is not a super human. She does not possess some rarefied quality that we could not all find nestled in our spirit. We walk with her down the beach of her island past a barking and threatening dog. She has always held an irrational fear of dogs though never has she actually had a bad experience with one. Her instinct is to turn back, but instead she contemplates the nature of fear and how best to conquer it, and she decides the best thing is to face it. So she continues on, if somewhat cautiously.
This book will mark you, if you let it. I come away feeling better equipped to face my barking island dogs. I am more observant and appreciative of my surroundings. And I will never see myself as stuck in a single way of life, never let the light of change and possibility elude me.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is a human book, not just a "woman's book." Take it from a middle-aged guy who was transfixed by this masterpiece. I've always loved Maine and I have spent much time on the Casco Bay near Alix' retreat. And I've always loved honest and powerful writing. Alix Schulman delivered both. She even responded to my letter of appreciation. And all my friends who read the book at my urging expressed appreciation to me. The world needs more Alix Schulman's.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Story Circle Book Reviews on December 29, 2007
Format: Paperback
Drinking the Rain, as one might guess from its beautiful title, can be described as a novel-length prose poem. I think of it as an ode to nature and to a particular time in the life journey of its author. It is a time when Shulman's children are grown; her husband, Jerry, and she have become estranged; the feminist movement to which she had been devoted seems dormant and a thing of the past. In short, a time when the author loses the passions that had driven her and, sadly, loses sight of the significance of her life. Having recently turned fifty, she feels a new urgency. Then something happens to bring about her firm determination to "begin a new chapter."

While exercising one morning, Shulman is seized by an intense and frightening vertigo. Her vertigo continues in the days and weeks ahead, but the doctors can find no explanation. Certain that this is the beginning of the end of her life, she seizes the day and listens to her heart, which urges her to remove herself from obligations and pressures that have filled her life. She wants only solitude and silence.

In the past, she has been afraid to spend time alone at her family's isolated cabin on a promontory in Maine--not even with her children during summer vacations. The cabin has no plumbing, heat or electricity, no neighbors, no phone, not even a road should she need help for some reason. She wonders if she can get the fridge started and imagines disasters such as lightning striking the tinderbox cabin or a slasher steeling his way into her bedroom in the dead of night. But her need to slow her life down, to get away from her mailbox stuffed with announcements and invitations, and to escape the incessant ringing of the telephone takes her to this cabin. Her fears go with her.
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