Seventeen years after she married, Judith Strasser escaped her emotionally and physically abusive husband and sought a better way to live. In the process, Strasser rediscovered what she had suppressed through that long span of time: exceptional strength and a passion for writing. Black Eye includes excerpts from a journal Strasser kept from 1985 to1986, the year she made the decision to leave her marriage, and present-day commentary on the journal passages and her family history. Strasser works like a detective investigating her own life, drawing clarity and power from journal passages, dreams, and memories that originally emerged from confusion and despair. With language that is both insightful and poetic, she reveals the psychological and social circumstances that led a "strong" woman, an intelligent and politically active feminist, to become an emotionally dependent, abused wife.
Not coincidentally, the same year that Strasser finally found the courage to leave her husband, she also reclaimed her creative voice. Newly empowered and energized by this enormous life change, Strasser began writing again after twenty-five silent years dominated by her mother’s illness and death, her own cancer, and her painful, fearful marriage. Black Eye is one of the fruits of this creative reawakening. Strasser’s writing is refreshingly honest and instantly engrossing. Not shy of wretchedness or beauty, Strasser’s story is bitterly personal, ultimately triumphant, and inspiring to all who deal with the adversity that is part of human life.
Brides have their dreams, sinners their secrets, but sometimes it’s not so easy to tell them apart.
In the border town of El Paso—better known to its Mexican American residents as El Chuco—dramas unfold in humdrum households every day as working-class men come home from their jobs and as their wives and children do their best to cope with life. Christine Granados now plumbs the heart of this community in fourteen startling stories, uncovering the dreams and secrets in which ordinary people sometimes lose themselves. Many fictional accounts of barrio life play up tradition and nostalgia; Brides and Sinners in El Chuco is a trip to the darker side. Here are memories of growing up in a place where innocence is always tempered by reality—true-to-life stories, told in authentic language, of young women, from preteens to twenty-somethings, learning to negotiate their way through troubled times and troubled families. In the award-winning story “The Bride,” a young girl recalls her sister as a perennial bride on Halloween, planning for her eventual big day in a pink notebook with lists of potential husbands, only to see her dream thwarted at the junior prom. In another, we meet Bobbi, the class slut, whose D-cup chest astounds the other girls and entices everyone—even those who shouldn’t be tempted.
Granados’ tales boldly portray women’s struggle for solidarity in the face of male abuse, and as these characters come to grips with self-discovery, sibling rivalry, and dysfunctional relationships, she shows what it means for Chicanas to grow up in protective families while learning to survive in the steamy border environment. Brides and Sinners in El Chuco is an uncompromising look at life with all its hard edges—told with enough softness to make readers come back for more.
Complicated Lives focuses on the lives of sixty-five drug-using girls in the juvenile justice system (living in group homes, a residential treatment center, and a youth correctional facility) who grew up in families characterized by parental drug use, violence, and child maltreatment. Vera Lopez situates girls’ relationships with parents who fail to live up to idealized parenting norms and examines how these relationships change over time, and ultimately contribute to the girls’ future drug use and involvement in the justice system.
While Lopez’s subjects express concerns and doubt in their chances for success, Lopez provides an optimistic prescription for reform and improvement of the lives of these young women and presents a number of suggestions ranging from enhanced cultural competency training for all juvenile justice professionals to developing stronger collaborations between youth and adult serving systems and agencies.
The Hanging of Ephraim Wheeler
Irene Quenzler Brown Harvard University Press, 2003 Library of Congress HV6565.M4B76 2003 | Dewey Decimal 364.1532097441
In 1806 an anxious crowd of thousands descended upon Lenox, Massachusetts, for the public hanging of Ephraim Wheeler, condemned for the rape of his thirteen-year-old daughter, Betsy. Not all witnesses believed justice had triumphed. The death penalty had become controversial; no one had been executed for rape in Massachusetts in more than a quarter century. Wheeler maintained his innocence. Over one hundred local citizens petitioned for his pardon--including, most remarkably, Betsy and her mother.
Impoverished, illiterate, a failed farmer who married into a mixed-race family and clashed routinely with his wife, Wheeler existed on the margins of society. Using the trial report to reconstruct the tragic crime and drawing on Wheeler's jailhouse autobiography to unravel his troubled family history, Irene Quenzler Brown and Richard D. Brown illuminate a rarely seen slice of early America. They imaginatively and sensitively explore issues of family violence, poverty, gender, race and class, religion, and capital punishment, revealing similarities between death penalty politics in America today and two hundred years ago.
Beautifully crafted, engagingly written, this unforgettable story probes deeply held beliefs about morality and about the nature of justice.
Table of Contents:
List of Illustrations Map of Berkshire County, ca. 1800
Introduction: The Ride to the Gallows
1. The Setting 2. The Trial 3. The Daughter 4. The Wife and Mother 5. The Condemned Man 6. The Final Judgment 7. The Execution
Aftermath: People and Memory
Notes Acknowledgments Index
Reviews of this book: History's grand narratives--the American Revolution, the Civil War, the Gold Rush--are always crowd pleasers, but microhistory, on the scale of everyday persons and singular events, draws readers seeking a more intimate encounter. The case unfolded here, of a man executed for raping his daughter, offers such an experience, bringing readers face to face with a family torn by domestic violence and civic authorities struggling with questions of justice. Throughout the book, Brown and Brown...balance a historical perspective on rural Massachusetts in the early 1800s with a sympathetic portrait of each character...Wheeler was hanged two centuries ago, yet the authors effectively demonstrate that there were never uncomplicated solutions to the perennial problems of family violence and criminal justice. --Publishers Weekly
Reviews of this book: In a forceful reminder of just how long Americans have debated the morality of capital punishment, two gifted historians revisit a post-Revolutionary Massachusetts community struggling to adjudicate the ugly case of a dissolute sailor and farmhand--one Ephraim Wheeler--accused of raping his daughter. Careful scrutiny of the evidence leaves little doubt about Wheeler's guilt. Still, a community anxious to distance itself from the bloody rigor of contemporary British jurisprudence was troubled about the justice of ending an almost 30-year hiatus of executions for rape...[Brown and Brown] illuminate sufficient humanity to account for the petitions from 103 local residents for clemency. But the governor refused to intervene. And so the taut narrative of Wheeler's last moments--the sudden release of the supporting plank, the jerk of the rope, the frantic death struggle of the suspended man--leaves modern readers wrestling with the same questions that troubled nineteenth-century witnesses of the harrowing event. --Bryce Christensen, Booklist
Reviews of this book: There were hundreds of people filling the church, the Browns write, as Wheeler, his wrists and ankles in chains, "clanked his way forward to the seat before the pulpit on the rough pine coffin he was scheduled to occupy." It is such details--all evoking the hill-country life of early 19th-century Berkshire County--that give The Hanging of Ephraim Wheeler color and vibrancy...From contemporary reports, the Browns...have assembled a richly nuanced account...and place the trial in its social and political context. --Michael Kenney, Boston Globe
Reviews of this book: As the Browns sensitively piece together this meticulously researched history, we see how the marginal life stories of the Wheelers clashed with the mainstream ambitions of government officials, lawyers and clergymen. The dynamic interplay of personalities, politics and principles determined not only what happened but also the severity of the punishment. This is a very insightful book. --Lester P. Lee, Jr., Times Literary Supplement
The Hanging of Ephraim Wheeler is a haunting book that will engage the reader at every level--analytical, historical, and above all emotional. With exceptional insight and rare grace, the Browns describe an early republic at least as compelling and perhaps more real than the glamour of the Founding Fathers. --Jon Butler, author of Becoming America
In small places, a sordid crime, and a shattered family, Irene and Richard Brown find the pieces to craft a haunting and powerful tale that illuminates the dark corners of the early republic. Thoroughly researched and crisply narrated, The Hanging of Ephraim Wheeler insightfully explores the interplay of elite journalists, lawyers, judges, and politicians with a hardscrabble family violently wrenched into a tragic melodrama of American crime and punishment. --Alan Taylor, University of California, Davis
The Hanging of Ephraim Wheeler is an absolute gem, through which elemental shafts of human experience are powerfully refracted. Like most microhistories, it spotlights a remarkable story. But, more than most, it touches themes and trends of the widest significance: race, class, and gender; justice and vengeance; love and hate; good and evil. And, perhaps more than any, it discloses the mysterious blend of sharing and difference that underlies all our relations to the past. --John Demos, Yale University
Irene and Richard Brown tell their chilling story with clarity, drama, and compassion. Melding family history with social and political history, they show how small decisions by ordinary people can reshape public debate, and they show the instability as well as the power of that old triad race, class, and gender. --Laurel Ulrich, author of A Midwife's Tale
Through the case of Ephraim Wheeler, Irene and Richard Brown give us new entry into the worlds of early nineteenth-century New England: of the laborer Ephraim and his wife, Hannah, a woman of color; of the judges who condemned him for raping his daughter; of the governor of Massachusetts, who refused to pardon him. The Browns' deep digging and careful reconstruction show us family struggles among the poor, sexual disorder, the power of patriarchy, quarrels about the death penalty, and much more. A stunning achievement in family history and the history of law--and a marvelous read. --Natalie Zemon Davis, author of The Return of Martin Guerre(/otherhuptitle>
The Hanging of Ephraim Wheeler is at once a stark human drama superbly well told and a work of exceptional scholarship. The setting is that of Ethan Frome, and in all the book casts something of the same haunting spell, except that here the story is true in every detail. My admiration for the skillful and consistently fair-minded way Irene and Richard Brown have rendered the story could not be greater. --David McCullough, author of John Adams
Anthony Varallo University of Iowa Press, 2019 Library of Congress PS3622.A725L56 2019 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
Set in the summer of 1979, when America was running out of gas, The Lines tells the story of a family of four—the mother, the father, the girl, and the boy—in the first months of a marital separation. Through alternating perspectives, we follow the family as they explore new territory, new living arrangements, and new complications. The mother returns to school. The father moves into an apartment. The girl squares off with her mother, while the boy struggles to make sense of the world. The Lines explores the way we are all tied to one another, and how all experience offers the possibility of love and connection as much as loss and change.
Winner of The Paterson Prize for Books for Young People
Recommended by USA Today for Black History Month as "a blend of history and suspense."
In this novel for young adults, Josh knows there is something about the tall Victorian House on the Harpers Ferry Hill, the one his father grew up in, that he can’t quite put his finger on. And his impossible father won’t give him any clues. He’s hiding something.
And then there’s the famous John Brown. The one who all the tourists come to hear about. The one whose statue looms over Josh’s house. Why does he seem to haunt Josh and his whole family? When the fancy Richmonds come to town and move right next door, their presence forces Josh to find the answers and stand up to the secrets of the House, to his father—and to John Brown, too.
The historic village of Harpers Ferry comes alive in this young boy’s brave search for answers and a place of his own in this brilliant first novel by John Michael Cummings.
“It’s safe to say your relationship is in trouble if the only way you can imagine solving your problems is by borrowing a time machine.”
In 2006 comic book dealer John Sherkston has decided to break up with his physicist boyfriend, Taylor Esgard, on the very day Taylor announces he’s finally perfected a time machine for the U.S government. John travels back to 1986, where he encounters “Junior,” his younger, more innocent self. When Junior starts to flirt, John wonders how to reveal his identity: “I’m you, only with less hair and problems you can’t imagine.” He also meets up with the younger Taylor, and this unlikely trio teams up to plot a course around their future relationship troubles, prevent John’s sister from making a tragic decision, and stop George W. Bush from becoming president.
In this wickedly comic, cross-country, time-bending journey, John confronts his own—and the nation’s—blunders, learning that a second chance at changing things for the better also brings new opportunities to screw them up. Through edgy humor, time travel, and droll one-liners, Bob Smith examines family dysfunction, suicide, New York City, and recent American history while effortlessly blending domestic comedy with science fiction. Part acidic political satire, part wild comedy, and part poignant social scrutiny, Remembrance of Things I Forgot is an uproarious adventure filled with sharp observations about our recent past.
InSight Out Book Club, featured selection
Bob Smith named one of Instinct magazine’s Leading Men 2011
Winner, Barbara Gittings Literature Award/Stonewall Book Awards, American Library Association
Finalist, Over the Rainbow Selection, American Library Association
Finalist, Green Carnation Prize, international prize for LGBT Literature
Amazon Top Ten Gay & Lesbian Books of 2011
Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the American Association of School Librarians
Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the Public Library Reviewers
Dawn Jewell is fifteen. She is restless, curious, and wry. She listens to Black Flag, speaks her mind, and joins her grandmother’s fight against mountaintop removal mining almost in spite of herself. “I write by ear,” says Robert Gipe, and Dawn’s voice is the essence of his debut novel, Trampoline. She lives in eastern Kentucky with her addict mother and her Mamaw, whose stance against the coal companies has earned her the community’s ire. Jagged and honest, Trampoline is a powerful portrait of a place struggling with the economic and social forces that threaten and define it. Inspired by oral tradition and punctuated by Gipe’s raw and whimsical drawings, it is above all about its heroine, Dawn, as she decides whether to save a mountain or save herself; be ruled by love or ruled by anger; remain in the land of her birth or run for her life.
A finalist for the 2019 Weatherford Award in Fiction, Weedeater picks up six years after the end of Robert Gipe’s acclaimed first novel, Trampoline, and continues the story of the people of Canard County, Kentucky. In Weedeater, the reader finds Canard County living through the last hurrah of the coal industry and the most turbulent and deadly phase of the community’s battle with opioid abuse. This is a contemporary story of love and loss told by a pair of eastern Kentucky mountaineers: Gene, the lovelorn landscaper who bears witness to the misadventures of a family entangled in drugs, artmaking, and politics, beset by both environmental and self-destruction; and Dawn Jewell, a young mother who is searching—for lost family members, lost youth, lost community, and lost heart. The events it chronicles are frantic, but its voice is by turns taciturn and angry, filled with humor and stoic grace. At its heart, Weedeater is a story about how we put our lives back together when we lose the things we thought we couldn’t bear losing, how we find new purpose in what we thought were scraps and trash caught in the weeds.