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Pissing in a River

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3.62  ·  Rating details ·  52 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Amanda moves to London with nothing but her guitar and her collection of punk music as the soundtrack to her every move. With the company of a few friendly voices in her head, she looks for—and finds—a best friend and new lover. She forms a band, Lesbian Raincoat, and completely rewrites the story of her life.

In this irreverently funny yet profound novel, Amanda risks depo
...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published June 17th 2014 by The Feminist Press at CUNY (first published May 19th 2014)
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Average rating 3.62  · 
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 ·  52 ratings  ·  17 reviews


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Verkakte
Aug 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
I liked this book in theory: punk lesbian chick-lit! Pissing in a River tracks the American protagonist Amanda as she finally meets the “women in [her] head” and creates a life for herself in London. The novel contains many essential elements of feminism, such as chosen family, safe spaces, shared power, and the fight against violence towards women, as well as LGBTQ and AIDS activism. Lorrie Sprecher is refreshingly successful at subverting the stereotype within the chick-lit genre of the co-dep ...more
Jude Watson
Aug 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Generally pretty awesome - the story is told by a lesbian punk with OCD, so obviously I was all about it. The amount of music nerdery is lovely. The writing and plot in the first half of the book was excellent, but the second half honestly read like a mediocre fan fiction it was so romantic and mushy. Which I still kinda loved, but it made me laugh out loud with how cliche it was pretty frequently.
Sassafras Lowrey
Sep 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
love it when i read a book that makes me almost miss my subway stop because i'm so focused on the story! If you like dyke punk novels you won't want to miss Lorrie Sprecher's Pissing In A River! + It's probably the best writing about OCD/Intrusive thoughts/worry that I've ever read! ...more
Greg Van Vorhis
This book was pretty good overall. I don’t know a lot about punk rock so I didn’t know a lot of the reference. But the book felt like a story draped over the history of punk rock.

I loved the references to guitar gear. She mentioned the Boss DS-1 several times, which is one of my favorite pedals. But then she called the Ibanez Tube Screamer by the wrong name and it left me scratching my head. Sure, minor detail, and probably just a typo, but since I’m a musician and not a lesbian, it’s the only t
...more
John
Jul 02, 2020 rated it liked it
There was a lot about this book for me to like: the narrator's life span was roughly the same as my own, and the soundtrack that was constantly playing in her head included many of the bands and songs that I have loved over the years. But I had problems with some of the characters' motivations and actions, and there was a lot of the book that could have been excised, I thought. I'd give it a 3.5 rating, rounded down to 3. ...more
Ande Han
Jan 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book really could have been so much better. The story line was interesting, but the writing was like a cross between a 14 year olds diary and listening to a drunk punk who really wants to convince you she's way more punk than you. ...more
Michelle
Sep 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a great book about becoming comfortable with yourself and finding your place in the world, even if it does come in the form of hearing voices and diving deep into the punk music scene.
Sarah-Hope
May 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
I promised the women in my head that I would get to England even if it killed me.

That’s the kind of sentence that rivets a reader, and that’s how Lorrie Sprecher opens her novel, Pissing in a River (the title is taken from a Patti Smith song). The novel follows Amanda, the woman with voices in her head, as she builds a life for herself as an activist and a musician and covers the period from the beginning of the AIDS crisis through George W. Bush’s war in Iraq.

The women in Amanda’s head are brow
...more
Haleigh
Jun 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Like other readers, I tore through this epic chronicle of friendship, love, politics, and punk music. The main character is both rebellious and full-hearted. Her complications and aspirations read as real and relatable. Behind her seemingly impulsive, radical actions is a chronically concerned and OCD-stricken woman. The three female characters have distinct personalities; however, they're similar in how real and fully-formed their personalities are. The novel is written in such detail--complete ...more
Kara Kratcha
Jun 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Pissing in a River is absolutely worth the read. I tore through this book because I didn't want to stop hanging out with the characters, a trio of queer women punks in mid-aughts London. Lorrie Sprecher treats mental illness, joblessness, sexuality, sexual assault, and friendship with compassion and complication. This is a story in which romance flourishes between women but does not crowd out other kinds of equally important relationships and aspirations. Sprecher's narrator is also hilarious an ...more
Ken Richards
Apr 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Lorrie Sprecher's novel is the story of Amanda, an Anglophile American lesbian punk with OCD, who vows to voices of the 'women in her head' that she would 'get to England even if it killed me'.

And so she does, studying Literature at Exeter University in the early 80s, and returning to London in the fraught augties where she not only meets the physical manifestations of her cranial voices, but changes her life.

Through it, the test is peppered with an encyclopedia of punk history, with bands, conc
...more
Alex N
Jul 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Pissing in a River is hilarious and full of heart. The novel is a great counter to the male punk narrative, following the lives of three queer punk women. Told through the narration of the main character, Amanda, deals with mental illness, AIDS activism and sexual assault. I devoured this book because I became so invested in the love and friendship of the women. It's also a great read if you're looking to up your punk trivia knowledge. The book is filled with references to musicians, specific co ...more
Mallory
Mar 23, 2016 rated it liked it
1000% behind the theory of this book: I mean, punk lesbians?!

And I did generally enjoy it, especially the music references and the fact that it features several friendships among queer women, which I don't think we get enough of in books. But I was incredibly confused about the passage of time and the age of the characters, and when I figured out they were in their late 30s, they just weren't believable.
...more
El Neo
Oct 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
I loved this book! Lorrie Sprecher is a fantastic wordsmith. I really thought I was reading non-fiction. Like these characters really existed. I felt thier struggles. They would have you realize that people are people.
Joseph
Apr 20, 2015 rated it liked it
An entertaining amateur effort of which I am perhaps more tolerant than I ought to be because I share the author's/narrator's musical tastes. ...more
Mayalekach
Nov 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Rating it a 5 although it mostly deserves a 4. I liked the activism and the constant references to punk bands. The plot was thin at best, however, but an easy read overall.
Kathleen
Sep 24, 2014 rated it liked it
I liked it. I loved the politics in it
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Lorrie Sprecher is the author of Pissing in a River, Sister Safety Pin and Anxiety Attack. She was a member of ACT UP/DC, has a PhD in English and American literature, and resides with her dog Kurt in Syracuse, New York. The punk song “It’s a Heteronormative World, No!” recorded by her band Sugar Rat appears on a compilation put out by Riot Grrrl Berlin.

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