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Naked in the Promised Land: A Memoir

by Lillian Faderman

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1513158,969 (4.18)2
An "exceedingly honest, endearing and profound" memoir by the daughter of a Holocaust survivor who grew up to become a pioneer for gay and lesbian rights (Publishers Weekly). Lillian Faderman was born in 1940, the only child of an uneducated, unmarried, Jewish immigrant woman. Her mother, Mary, whose family perished in the Holocaust, was racked by guilt over leaving them behind for America; she also suffered recurrent psychotic episodes. Mary's only escape from brutal days working in a sweatshop was her Lilly, who dreamed of becoming a movie star and "rescuing" 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.   Desperate to make her life meaningful and redeem her mother's suffering, Lil entered the University of California at Berkeley and worked her way through college as a burlesque stripper. A brilliant student, she eventually achieved a PhD. Ultimately, she became Lillian, 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 honest--and very American--story of an exceptional woman and her remarkable, unorthodox life.… (more)
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Showing 3 of 3
This woman led an incredibly interesting life...and she's not done yet....highly recommended...G. ( )
  Gemma. | Apr 26, 2013 |
This is a kind, decent, and deeply honest memoir by a lesbian scholar who did pioneer scholarship on lesbian lives, history and culture ("Surpassing the Love of Men, "Odd Girl Out and Twilight Lovers"). One grasps here the importance of her Jewish identity, the horror of the losses of the Holocaust, erotic and intellectual resourcefulness amid the repressions of the 1950s, and, above all, determination to succeed and a desire for "od hayim" (more life). Faderman endures rocky romantic turmoil and a stint as an exotic dancer on her way to getting her degree, and, eventually winds up in administration before returning to teaching. A tribute to the continued importance of biographies of notable--or unusual--LGBT lives. ( )
  corinneblackmer | Oct 4, 2011 |
A stunning memoir. The writing is like fine cut crystal. A joy to read. ( )
  SigmundFraud | Apr 10, 2011 |
Showing 3 of 3
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How could I not have spent years of my life lusting after the golden apple - the heft of it, the round, smooth feel of it, the curve of it in my small hand?
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An "exceedingly honest, endearing and profound" memoir by the daughter of a Holocaust survivor who grew up to become a pioneer for gay and lesbian rights (Publishers Weekly). Lillian Faderman was born in 1940, the only child of an uneducated, unmarried, Jewish immigrant woman. Her mother, Mary, whose family perished in the Holocaust, was racked by guilt over leaving them behind for America; she also suffered recurrent psychotic episodes. Mary's only escape from brutal days working in a sweatshop was her Lilly, who dreamed of becoming a movie star and "rescuing" 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.   Desperate to make her life meaningful and redeem her mother's suffering, Lil entered the University of California at Berkeley and worked her way through college as a burlesque stripper. A brilliant student, she eventually achieved a PhD. Ultimately, she became Lillian, 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 honest--and very American--story of an exceptional woman and her remarkable, unorthodox life.

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