In the Country of Women by Susan Straight

In the Country of Women

In inland Southern California, near the desert and the Mexican border, Susan Straight, a white self-proclaimed book nerd, and Dwayne Sims, an African American basketball player, started dating in high school. After college, they married and drove to Amherst, Massachusetts, where Straight met her teacher and mentor, James Baldwin, who encouraged her to write. Once back in Riverside, at weekly driveway barbecues and fish fries with the large, close...

Details In the Country of Women

TitleIn the Country of Women
Release DateAug 6th, 2019
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Biography

Reviews In the Country of Women

  • Brina
    Last night I allowed each of my daughters to have a sleepover. It’s the first time I’ve had all three have a friend over at the same time, and the house was full of girls of assorted ages. All weekend I have girls in and out of the house, and I joke to my husband that our house is the Grand Central Station of the neighborhood. In light of our weekend open door policy, I find it appropriate that I chose to read a new memoir by gifted Californi...
  • Janet
    Susan Straight is one of the best things ever to come out of California writing, author of nine remarkable novels including A Million Nightingales, Between Heaven and Here, The Gettin Place, and Highwire Moon, a finalist for the National Book Award. Most of them deal with her tough patch of emotional real estate, Riverside California, where she was born and continues to live, despite her prominence, her literary success, a full professorship in t...
  • Catapult
    In the Country of Women is a valuable social history and a personal narrative that reads like a love song to America and the nation's indomitable women, written by National Book Award finalist and Guggenheim Fellow Susan Straight.
  • Cherise Wolas
    An extraordinary memoir about migration, forced and otherwise, about a place, Riverside, California, about race, black, white, and everything else, about the melting pot we each are individually, and as a clan, about family and families, about slavery, violence, love, poverty, the indomitable spirit of women, and so much more. It's an intense genealogy of the Sims and Straight families, and sometimes it's hard to keep the various people clear in ...
  • Vanessa Hua
    One of my favorite books this year! This memoir captivated and astonished me, both in its scope, spanning generations, yet its intimacy, too, as Straight takes us through the sprawl of her family's history that reflects the richness and pain and love and violence these women and men have endured and survived. Its examination of race is timely and timeless and urgent. Though clear-eyed and unflinching, there is also hope, something that I've value...
  • gwayle
    This was a wonderful read, at the intersection of so many things I love: sprawling multigenerational stories; history, especially women's history; mother and daughter stories; and stories with strong senses of place. Novelist Susan Straight, herself white, has three daughters by her African American ex-husband. This memoir is addressed to them—a woman empowering her daughters with their history, especially their female forebears' long, hard roa...
  • Diane Payne
    To some degree, this is a love letter to the author's three daughters, a letter of their history, of their tributes, of their memories. Susan Straight writes an honest memoir of her own upbringing, her relationship with her husband and his family, and her discovery of self. She must have been upset with her ex-husband during the chapter she referred to him as her ex instead of by his first name, which was how he was addressed throughout the memoi...
  • Rachel Watkins
    Susan Straight's memoir traces the immigration and history of the women who came before her three daughters. A moving tribute to ancestors, IN THE COUNTRY OF WOMEN is a book about resilience and love that beautifully celebrates the American immigrant story. This book touched me deeply.
  • Holly Robinson
    Our contemporary literary canon overflows with memoirs written by women who have experienced and overcome adversity of all kinds. The very best of these stories are about something bigger than the authors themselves, throwing light on themes like prejudice, domestic violence, substance abuse, and religion. Susan Straight's dazzling memoir breaks that mold completely. Written as a love letter for her three mixed-race daughters, this book describes...
  • Kristen Mcknight
    I vacillated between 3 and 4 stars with this book. The book got quite in depth with the genealogies of both her family (Swiss and Canadian) and her ex-husband's family (African American) and it was impossible for me to keep all the ancestors straight (so I quit trying). The parts I found fascinating included the strength of the women (especially on her ex-husband's side), the radical differences between the two extended families, and the stories ...
  • Csimplot Simplot
    Excellent book!!!
  • S. Murphy
    I love the novels of Susan Straight, and when this memoir was released, I assumed I would devour it quickly. I didn't. The writing is so rich and pure, I found myself stopping often to re-read a sentence or a paragraph. I called friends to read them sections aloud. Sometimes, I stopped to reminisce; I spent my teen years in Riverside also. Sometimes I stopped to wipe tears away; my sons are biracial. We, too, had those painful but necessary conve...
  • Toby Neal
    Enjoyed this memoir by literary luminary Susan Straight as she writes about the generations of women whose blood combined to create her three biracial daughters in Riverside, California...A place people go to begin again. Many thought provoking moments in this carefully researched book spanning the whole United States. In a way, In the Country of Women: A Memoir is a universal one. We all came from somewhere, and ended up somewhere. Susan just ca...
  • Maureen
    Right now this book is one my lifetime top ten list. While it is Susan Straight's memoir, it is the story of six generations of women. It is also the story of six generations of American history. It is deeply personal, drawing more from her husband's family than her own. It's not an easy story, but one which gives me belief that love will conquer all, that people can be loving, accepting and inclusive. This book has changed me for the better.
  • Pat
    Amazing story of an extended family.All them women and how they survived for generations.Author is a Swiss ;heritage white woman who married a black man in the U.S.They have 3 girls.So much love in this book, between these people.All the family stories.All the time spent braiding hair.So much love.
  • Linda Gaines
    Interesting memoir of Susan Straight's life in connection with ancestors. She especially writes about the families of her ex-husband and directs it to their three daughters. Life is hard for others in poverty but great things come from that with desire and determination.
  • Ann Pearlman
    Memoir of a interracial American family and the love, food, exploration, that holds them together. It is a homage to the women in the family, (with lots of genealogy) with praise for the strength and grit of ancestors. Much tale of America needed now in the our divisive era.
  • Gabriella
    AmazingThis is a book I thoroughly enjoyed. So very well written. The author has a heart of gold and shares it beautifully with the reader (and those in her life).
  • Tina Miller
    Made me want to know much more about the times they all lived through because the characters were both so vivid and so connected to the present. I also wanted to know about James Baldwin.
  • Dorinda
    Huge fan of Straight's fiction. Found the number of names coupled with non-linear construction of story-telling here made it a more burdensome read that diminished the power of the women described
  • Lynda
    I am awestruck by this stunning book. Overwhelmed with admiration and touched to my core.
  • Jess
    Could not get into it
  • Zuvielekatzen
    such an interesting memoir - such an interesting family. I couldn't stop reading.
  • Abby
    This is a beautiful, powerful memoir. I couldn't put it down.