Synopses & Reviews
Born in 1940, Lillian Faderman was the only child of an uneducated and unmarried immigrant Jewish woman. Her mother, whose family perished in the Holocaust, was racked by guilt at having come to America and left them behind; she suffered recurrent psychotic episodes. Her only escape from the brutal labor of her sweatshop job was her fiercely loved daughter, Lilly, whose poignant dream throughout an impoverished childhood was to become a movie star and "rescue" her mother. Lilly grew up to become Lil, outwardly tough, inwardly innocent, hungry for love and success. A beautiful young woman who was learning that her deepest erotic and emotional connections were to women, she found herself in a dangerous but seductive lesbian underworld of addicts, pimps, and prostitutes. Desperately seeking to make her life meaningful and to redeem her mother's suffering, she entered the University of California at Berkeley and worked her way through college as a burlesque stripper. A brilliant student, she ultimately achieved a Ph.D. At last she became Lillian, the woman who in time became a loving partner, a devoted mother, an acclaimed writer, and a charismatic, groundbreaking scholar of gay and lesbian studies.Told with wrenching immediacy and great power, this is an extraordinary memoir: the nakedly honest -- and very American -- story of an exceptional woman and her remarkable, unorthodox life.
"[A] painful dynamic—driven by Fadermans conflicting need to save herself and her mother—drives the book to disturbing emotional depths."—Publishers Weekly
"A frank and moving book. . . . An exhilarating narrative of [Fadermans] life."—Los Angeles Times
"This ungentle memoir spares no feelings, least of all the authors, as it tells a riveting tale of truths more dangerous than fiction."—Boston Sunday Globe
Born in 1940, Faderman was the only child of an uneducated and unmarried immigrant Jewish woman. She became a brilliant student, loving partner, devoted mother, influential writer, and groundbreaking scholar of gay and lesbian studies. Told with wrenching immediacy, this is the nakedly honest story of an exceptional woman. Photos.
The daughter of an unmarried immigrant Jewish garment worker whose family had perished in the Holocaust, Lillian Faderman dreamed of being an actress. Instead she worked her way through college by posing for nude photographs, and by stripping. She slowly discovered that her deepest erotic and emotional connections were to women. After nearly losing herself in a dangerous underworld of addicts, pimps, and prostitutes, she became a brilliant student, eventually earning a Ph.D. And she became a loving partner, a devoted mother, an influential writer, and a groundbreaking scholar of gay and lesbian studies.
About the Author
Lillian Faderman is the author of such acclaimed works as To Believe in Woman, Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers, and Surpassing the Love of Men. Among her many honors are Yale Universitys James Brudner Award for exemplary scholarship in lesbian and gay studies, three Lambda Literary Awards, two American Library Association awards, the Monette-Horwitz Award, the American Association of University Womens National Distinguished Scholar Award. She teaches literature and creative writing at California State University at Fresno.