Riding Fury Home
Published: April 2012
About the Book
In 1958, when Chana Wilson was seven, her mother held a rifle to her own head and pulled the trigger. The gun jammed and she was taken away to a mental hospital—but it was only the first of many suicide attempts to follow. It wasn’t until years later that Wilson learned of the truths behind her mother’s anguish and despair: her love affair with another married woman, and the psychiatric treatment—including electroshock therapy—aimed at curing her of her lesbianism. In Riding Fury Home, Wilson explores the profound ways in which the social landscape of the times sculpted her and her mother’s lives—from the suffocating effects of the intolerance of the 1950s to the exhilarating liberation made possible by the women’s movement of the 1970s.
Riding Fury Home spans forty years of the troubled, often shameful, history of America’s attitudes regarding sexuality and acceptance. Through the lens of her intense, complex relationship with her mother—the misery and trauma of their early years together, the transformation and joy they found when they both came out in the '70s, and the deep bond that resulted from their shared experiences, which continued to grow until her mother passed away from cancer—Wilson reveals just how much our society has evolved since the '50s.
Exquisitely written and devastatingly honest, Riding Fury Home is a shattering account of one family’s struggle against homophobia and mental illness in a changing world—and a powerful story of healing, forgiveness, and redemption.