Susan Straight – In the Country of Women


In the Country of Women is a valuable social history and a personal narrative that reads like a love song to America and indomitable women.

In inland Southern California, near the desert and the Mexican border, Susan Straight, a 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 driveway barbecues and fish fries with the large, close-knit Sims family, Straight – and eventually her three daughters – heard for decades the stories of Dwayne’s female ancestors. Some women escaped violence in post-slavery Tennessee, some escaped murder in Jim Crow Mississippi, and some fled abusive men. Susan’s family, too, reflects the hardship and resilience of women pushing onward – from Switzerland, Canada, and the Colorado Rockies to California.

A Pakistani word, biraderi, is one Straight uses to define a complex system of kinship and clan – those who become your family. An entire community helped raise her daughters. Of her three girls, Straight writes, “The daughters of our ancestors carry in their blood at least three continents. We are not about borders. We are about love and survival.”

Author: Susan Straight
Narrator: Donna Postel
Duration: 10 hours 49 minutes
Released: 19 Jun 2008
Publisher: HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books
Language: English

User Review:

medley frenetic

Great writing. AND – if you grew up in Southern CA this is a must read. The specific rich landscape we dont often get to experience in a publishing world dominated by easterners.