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Riding Fury Home: A Me...
Chana Wilson
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Riding Fury Home: A Memoir

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  180 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
In 1958, when Chana Wilson was seven, her mother held a rifle to her head and pulled the trigger. The gun jammed and she was taken away to a mental hospital. On her return, Chana became the caretaker of her heavily medicated, suicidal mother. It would be many years before she learned the secret of her mother's anguish: her love affair with another married woman, and the ps ...more
ebook, 384 pages
Published April 1st 2012 by Seal Press (CA)
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Community Reviews

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Apr 09, 2012 Feministprof rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Riding Fury Home is an emotional roller-coaster of a book, filled with gut-wrenching lows and transcendent highs.

I read this book with a great deal of interest, as its material covers many of the fields I teach: Memoir, 20th-century American Literature, and Gay and Lesbian Studies. Because I recently published a book about confessional writing, I am also interested in the ways people have experienced and written about the intersections amongst psychiatry, sexuality, and women’s issues. I found
Rose Ruston
Apr 01, 2012 Rose Ruston rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In prose of dazzling clarity, Chana Wilson’s memoir Riding Fury Home describes the life of a Jewish-American family in 1950s New Jersey. As we find out, this family, living quietly in a beautiful, sun-filled house, was in the grip of destructive social forces beyond their control. The same little girl who played in the woods and adored her puppy was forced repeatedly to protect her Mom, Gloria, from suicide. Gloria had met the terrifying fate inflicted upon many of our Lesbian and Gay forebears: ...more
Jeanne Courtney
Mar 25, 2012 Jeanne Courtney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in lgbt culture, mental health, memoir, mother daughter relationships, good reads
It reads like the very best fiction, with vivid details that stimulate all the senses, heart pounding scenes that keep the pages turning, and comical anecdotes that are both thought-provoking and fun. But this story is true, and relentlessly truthful, told without a hint of sensationalism or sentimentality.

Personal experiences are deftly interspersed with Wilson's take on the turbulent, expansive social times in which she came of age. She keeps the narrative intimate and specific, while paying t
Helen Mayer
Mar 22, 2012 Helen Mayer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hooked the moment I started reading Chana Wilson's memoir, Riding Fury Home . I think you will be too!

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 al
Joshua Feldman
Jun 09, 2012 Joshua Feldman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Riding Fury Home is a memoir of trauma and redemption with an important broader significance.

The early chapters of Chana Wilson's shattering memoir "Riding Fury Home" literally devastated me. Her mother's suicide attempts, her father leaving her alone with her heavily medicated clearly unstable mother; these details of loneliness, abandonment, and the terrible responsibility she was forced to shoulder struck me viscerally and I was forced to come up, literally panting for breath every few pages.
Dec 06, 2015 Toadie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbt
This is a really powerful story about a girl whose childhood was uprooted by her mother's "mental health treatment" -- and who later learned that her mother had been undergoing psychiatric treatment to "cure" her of lesbianism. Her mother's story, and the changes in the author's relationship with her mother over the years (as both the author and her mother come out) are the heart of the book.

Some of the author's stories about her own relationships lack self awareness and made me cringe, though.
May 27, 2012 Meave rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was pretty good. Wilson doesn't have as deft a hand with language as Dorothy Allison, nor does she write as provocatively as Michelle Tea, but as far as shitty-childhood-lesbian-coming-of-age stories go, this is solid stuff. I totally empathize with her frustration with infighting with different liberal groups, man. Every time you get an opening, as a feminist or liberal or whatever, you're grateful, but you see the flaws and your criticize because This is good, but it could be so much bett ...more
Monza Naff
Jun 13, 2012 Monza Naff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once in a very great while I hear a voice that takes up residence in my heart, a story both personal and cultural that deserves to live a long time in my mind. So it is with Chana Wilson's voice, her memoir "Riding Fury Home"--growing up with and caring for a mother diagnosed as mentally ill because she was a lesbian in the 50's, coming out at the same time as her mother in the 70's, and forging a profoundly close adult relationship with her mother even as she creates a home with her life partne ...more
Mar 19, 2013 Candace rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those interested in LGBTI lives and psychology
The author’s tone is agreeable, but the story she tells is harrowing. There seems to be a cauldron of rage toward both her parents that is bubbling just under the surface. My heart went out to both of her parents, but Chana seems stuck on their failures to parent her properly. I wonder if some of her more obvious rage was edited out. The tone seems much more bland than the storm of emotions just under the surface.

It is an immediately gripping story in terms of its presentation. Well-written, and
Audacia Ray
Feb 08, 2013 Audacia Ray rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Only got through the first hundred pages... the sentences are nice, and I can tell that she really worked on them, but there's a lot lacking in the flow and consistency of the story. My close reading self couldn't get past not knowing how she knows what she knows. How does she know about her parents' awkward sexual encounters during the honeymoon? And the real kicker... in relating a story about antisemitic graffiti etched on her dad's truck in dust when she was a baby, she writes, "My parents n ...more
Excellent, touching, socially important memoir. By only real complaint was that I felt there were often large jumps/gaps in time that left me feeling a bit disoriented and sometimes questioning how we had gotten there. The author was covering several decades so there was a lot of squeeze in, but it was a little jumpy. Besides that, this was a great story with many valuable things to say.
Christina Zable
Apr 17, 2012 Christina Zable rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in healing, people interested in glbt issues, mothers and daughters
Chana Wilson had an incredibly hard childhood. Her mother, Gloria, was often suicidal, in and out of mental hospitals, heavily altered by electroshock and psychiatric drugs. For one year of grade school, her father was away in England, leaving her alone with her mom. During that year, Gloria attempted suicide twice. Chana cared for her mom, cleaned up after those attempts, and never told her dad about them.

Later, when Chana was a young woman, she learned that her mother was a lesbian. Her depre
Aug 23, 2012 Annie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: free
It was the title that got me, then the cover and then the content of this memoir!
Wonderful book of a really awful, lonely and frightening childhood. I have worked with troubled kids in the past and this story really resonated with me, my heart went out to the author as this story was inspired by her childhood.
You would think that a child with a harrowing upbringing would loathe the parent, in fact it can be just the opposite. The need for love by and from a parent is all consuming with kids
I picked up this book after hearing an amazing reading by the author. It's an intense, enthralling story.

Trapped in a suffocating marriage in the 1950s, Chana Wilson's mother, Gloria, tries to kill herself, but fails. By a twist of fate, the gun jams. She is quickly taken away. Going in and out of psychiatric hospitals during the peak of electroshock therapy, she tries, again and again, to die. Wilson describes the distress of a child losing her mother, finding a mother who isn't really there, t
Mar 30, 2013 Kirsten rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was SO great. I picked it up randomly at the library because I like books about how people deal with mental illness and how they overcome great adversity. From the description on the back, I thought the mother holds a rifle to her daughter's head, but it jams, and then the mother goes to the mental hospital. But really, the mother is trying to commit suicide. So for the first 176 pages, the book is a just an account of how horrible this poor girl's childhood is. She write lots of littl ...more
Joanna Biggar
Jun 27, 2012 Joanna Biggar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

For readers who are Jewish radical feminist lesbian activists, this book is a natural. But for readers who claim none of the above, like myself, it is a compelling journey into worlds if not unknown, at least not experienced. For any reader who is nourished by a wonderful, even if painful story, Chana Wilson’s is an immensely rewarding read.

And painful it is to watch the young woman she was repeatedly enter relationships bound to wound her and fail. Even more painful to witness
Mar 19, 2015 Amber rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is...

A beautiful and sweet memoir of a mother
-A fun romp for a lesbian to have a lesbian mother/best friend
-A glimpse at the sexual/antiwar/feminist revolution
-A difference in generations on being lesbian
-A glimpse of psychiatry done wrong.
-A glimpse at seeing a loved one passing on.

In my selfish interests, I found it incredibly interesting to see the framework of the feminist revolution. I understood on some level the idea of denying men entirely, even for sexual needs, but what str
I was hooked from page one. I couldn't get enough of "Riding Fury Home" into me fast enough. About forty pages back at about page 220 I started feeling like I had to push my way through words, ideas, language, and this incredible author's writing. Something has either stalled in me or maybe stalled in the book. I'm not tasting and savoring and lingering and feeling energy anymore. I'm going to set this book aside for a little while and come back. I am certain that I'll come back. I feel too conn ...more
Jun 19, 2012 Leann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is amazing. I couldn't put it down. I didn't expect to be shocked at anything to be truthful. I thought I had heard it all. But, you really can't know the anguish another person has suffered unless you have too. I knew that people are cruel and that homosexuals are teased, bullied, and discriminated against. But, I don't think that any of those conditions are things that I have not also faced as a heterosexual. The conditions mentioned in the book were far above anything I could have i ...more
Sep 15, 2012 Michele rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is nuts! The author's mother tries to kill herself no less than four times and it is all because she is a lesbian and her lover decided to end their affair and called her a dyke. So she gets extremely depressed as most people do after a premature breakup and she starts to see a shrink who specializes in homosexual issues. His solution? Electroshock treatments. She gets 18 of them because she's GAY!

Her daughter ends up taking care of her, which she had no business doing, she was just a
May 18, 2012 Lauren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am 20 pages in and there are so many things to love about this book. The cover photo is great, the topics are (of course) something I'm interested in, the chapters are 3-4 pages each (which I really love when I'm having busy weeks), AND to top it all off Dorothy Allison wrote a glowing review on the can you not love this book even if you've just started?!

UPDATE: Now that I have finished the book, I can say it lived up to my expectations. Great book, compelling story and insightful.
Diane Yannick
May 01, 2012 Diane Yannick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
I was very glad to get to the end of this book. I did not feel that it was particularly well written or at all enlightening. I realized part way through that I didn't really like/care about the author or her mother. Repetitious and definitely not worth all the words. My favorite part was the cover.
*First Reads Won*

This book was written very well to express the thoughts and feelings, the pain and sorrow, of the author. It gets the point across that humans can be extremely inhuman to things they don't declare "normal". It shows that the past is generally not something to be proud of, especially if you are destroying humans.
Aug 04, 2013 Megan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When is a memoir not a memoir? When it’s also a peek into a part of the past that we are not always willing to let ourselves examine too closely. Read my full review here:
May 01, 2012 Tinav rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A hauntingly beautiful mother/daughter story, this marvelous book is also a scathing indictment of the way 20th century society treated homosexuals.

It shows by example where we were, where we are now, and how far we still have to go. You will laugh, cry, and be inspired.
Mar 19, 2013 Meg rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm honestly surprised not to have encountered this memoir in a graduate course on 2nd wave feminism. Very genuine and clear. No sugarcoating here, but no getting caught up in details, either. A very fluid, readable literary memoir.
Jul 09, 2012 Mary rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not my cup of tea. Being a mother, it was hard to believe how this young girl had to be the parent when she didn't have to. It was very slow-going with the story and I found myself wanting it to end already. That's never good.
The first half of the book dealing with the author's turbulent childhood with a mentally ill mother and an absent father was well-told and engaging. But the second half of the book detailing the author's failed relationships were painful and awkward to read.
Nov 24, 2012 Jeanne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was hard to put down at first. The story of the author's youth with her suicidal mother and absent father was compelling. Then in college she became sexually aggressive and the story fell apart. I did not finish it.
Robyn Obermeyer
Feb 26, 2015 Robyn Obermeyer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book very emotional. Just the reading of how mental illness is dealt with and the feelings of those closest to the wounded birds.The memoir came together as very honest and real!
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