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Riding Fury Home: A Memoir Paperback – April 3, 2012
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Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
In this unusual memoir—a remembrance of mental illness and sexual identity—Wilson, a writer and psychotherapist, begins with a devastating incident from her childhood, one of her mother’s numerous suicide attempts which finally sent her to a mental institution. Wilson recalls her pent-up rage and shame, and her father telling her never to express anger toward her mother; her condition, he reminded her, was not her fault. It took many years for Wilson to learn the cause of her mother’s anguish: trapped in an unhappy marriage, she embarked on a relationship with a married woman. The subsequent electroshock treatment—the only “cure” at the time for her “condition”—and doctor-prescribed psychiatric pills took such a toll on her body that she was barely recognizable when she returned home. The tables were turned as Wilson learned to adopt the role of protector. Riding Fury Home describes the complicated relationship between a mother and daughter set against the backdrop of a changing America, as Wilson comes to accept her own lesbian identity and learns to forge a new relationship with her mother. A compelling read. --June Sawyers
Publishers Weekly, starred review
As a work of socially relevant art, this memoir is above reproach. As a historical document, it is both lamentation of a shameful past and evidence of how far we've come.”
San Francisco Chronicle
"Chana Wilson's astonishing story is a hybrid of nightmare and fairy tale in which every child's worst fears and fondest hopes about their mother come true."
Alison Bechdel, author of Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic
"Chana Wilson has done a wonderful thingputting on the page so much grief, fear, and stubborn awe-inspiring endurance. We rarely look closely at complicated relationships like the one she had with her mother, and even more rarely look at how they change over time. This is not heroes and villains, but a layered, intimate exchange in which it seems the child is never quite allowed to be a childand yet still manages to hang onto a carefully constructed loving closeness."
Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard Out of Carolina
Her frank and moving memoir . . . reminds us how much one remarkable, compelling life can tell us about the culture in which it thrives. When at long last Wilson discovers freedom and support in love with women, readers won't just know her and her heart betterthey'll better understand the last 50 years of American life.”
Wilson very accurately captures both the vulnerable but steely-willed child of long ago and the successful women that both she and her mother eventually become. This lovely memoir is a welcome resource for those with mental illness in their families, especially if they have to cope, as Wilson did, with caring for a difficult but much loved parent.”
At times the tension between Wilson and her mother is palpable . . . there are moments in Riding Fury Home that make the chest tighten with a familiar if unnamed fear and there are similarly relatable moments of tenderness.”
I finished the book feeling enlarged for what I’d read, inspired and hopeful. Riding Fury Home is a beautiful and very human story of vast themes: birth, death, desire, hope, oppression overcome. Wilson tells her stories in a powerful way that brings the universal home.”
Top customer reviews
The book reads more like a novel as Wilson tells us about growing up as "parentified" child with a mother who was suffering, often suicidal, and a father who coped the best he knew how. Wilson's father often managed by withdrawing and leaving his young daughter essentially on her own with a heavily drugged despairing mother.
Somehow they all survive and eventually thrive. I don't want to spoil all the twists and turns of the story but Wilson manages to capture the voices of each of the characters. They are neither villains nor heroes and each in their own way muddle through to reconciliation. Wilson was also able to capture the voice and thoughts of a child, a youth, young adult and finally a mature woman. This skill and her wonderful storytelling made each page a delight and an invitation.
As I was finishing the book, I had to keep reminding myself that it was a true story and that there wasn't going to be a sequel. I love and hate when a book ends and I go through severe character withdrawal. I hope to hear more from author Chana Wilson!
Quite good, emotional, gripping..sixties, seventies ans beyond.
Most recent customer reviews
The author is a lesbian. I am a hetero female in a 24-year committed relationship. Makes no difference.Read more
Wonderful book of a really awful, lonely and frightening childhood.Read more