Literary Nonfiction. Memoir. Women's Studies. DRAWING THE LINE is the story of personal adventure and redemption, tracing a life lived continually on the edge between chaos and harmony, tragedy and joy. Beyond her recounting of extraordinary places and events, Susan Gardner gives us a perceptive, generational voice. She recalls pivotal decades of societal change and toucheLiterary Nonfiction. Memoir. Women's Studies. DRAWING THE LINE is the story of personal adventure and redemption, tracing a life lived continually on the edge between chaos and harmony, tragedy and joy. Beyond her recounting of extraordinary places and events, Susan Gardner gives us a perceptive, generational voice. She recalls pivotal decades of societal change and touches on basic themes of human experience that are universal and timeless. Spanning six decades and various countries of East Asia, Europe and Mexico, it tells of a precocious child driven to excel and to escape a turbulent, combative home life. We experience the struggles and accomplishments of a uniquely gifted woman as she overcomes official strictures and domestic discord to become an accomplished artist. Ultimately, we see her break free of old patterns and constraints to live the joyous complexity of personal fulfillment and the promise of a new beginning....
|Title||:||Drawing the Line|
|Number of Pages||:||288 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
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Drawing the Line Reviews
Here's the review I wrote for Drunken Boat, just out in DB 15:http://www.drunkenboat.com/db15/drawi...Susan Gardner is a poet and artist whose memoir, Drawing the Line, chronicles the life of a woman who increasingly places the rigor and discipline of art and the act of creation at the center of her life. But Gardner’s memoir is most interesting and impressive for its chronicle of the life of a highly intelligent, capable woman who, given the times, familial, marital and societal expectations, consistently finds her ambitions thwarted (enrollment at M.I.T. is rejected by her parents in favor of Hunter College; later as the only woman in the international relations doctoral program at Johns Hopkins, she’s told by her advisor: “It’s too bad you’re here, but the university has decided to admit women to this program. You were the best qualified. I hope you aren’t wasting a space that could be better used by someone else” (97)). Her husband’s career in the foreign service takes them for several years at a time to Korea, Japan, Washington D.C. suburbs, and Mexico. Yet despite these many moves, an increasingly difficult, even abusive marriage, Gardner is able to devote herself to her sons, and enjoy the demands of motherhood. At the same time she finds her way around obstacles and limitations (foreign service wives were not allowed to work at this time) to a life of great integrity and accomplishment that includes teaching, public service, fluency in first Korean and then Japanese, along with painting, drawing, printmaking, gallery shows and expositions. Carving out a path that is her own, Gardner eventually journeys to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where in time, an unsought but ultimately welcomed second marriage begins and a dizzying number of houses are bought and reconstructed until the right one is settled upon.After an initial chapter in Mexico, Drawing the Line follows Gardner’s life chronologically in a manner that is not markedly artful or poetic but one which the reader comes to find increasingly compelling. The balance Gardner strikes between reserve and divulgence seems right, and the honesty and clear-sightedness with which she relates the continual challenges (the loss of a child, her husband’s affairs, exclusion from the working sphere abroad) as well as the resources she is able to draw from in facing them bind the reader to her with great compassion and respect. Wherever she lives, she attempts to reach out, to create community, a life much larger than the one prescribed to her. “From very early childhood I learned that because I was able to, I must do what was required of me,” (90) Susan Gardner writes. Here she chronicles her journey from meeting the requirements of being a daughter, sister, wife, mother, foreign service spouse, to those dictated by her art and her heart. Gardner’s memoir will interest many, and to those women who struggle still against the dictates of society or their own upbringing, it provides an important example, a path of encouragement and a means of support.
Drawing The Line is a beautiful story of a woman's struggle to be herself.... a personal exploration of the last six decades, and a peek into the formation of an artist.... I loved the book. - San Francisco Book Review August 2011Drawing the Line is a fine memoir with plenty to absorb throughout. - Midwest Book Review/Small Press BookWatch Vol 10 No.8 August 2011Gardner has given us a meticulously detailed, ruthlessly honest and emotionally redemptive story.... Drawing the Line generously offers that epiphany to all of us. -- Wayne Lee, author of Doggerel & Caterwauls: Poems Inspired by Cats & DogsDrawing the Line ~ Passionate Life is a work to savor.... imbued with the same vitality, restraint, and dignity as a perfect line. - Diane Thomas, author of The Year the Music Changed“... sophisticated in its simplicity and profound in its lack of guile. Drawing the Line is soulful and beautiful. - Marc Talbert, author of Altogether ErnestSusan Gardner’s DRAWING THE LINE is a poignant and touching personal story that vividly captures what it is to grow and discover, not only as an artist, but as a human being. - Scott
First, I received this book through the Goodreads giveaway for free. However, that did not influence my opinion any.This book took me through the life of Susan from start to finish, and I enjoyed every minute of the ride. I watched as she grew, I cried when she hurt, and I laughed when she laughed. As someone that has never gotten to travel to other countries, I enjoyed "piggybacking" onto Susan's travels and learned quiet a bit through her eyes.Susan also has the rare talent of writing very vividly when it counts. The pictures included of her work also is a very good touch. On the whole, I think this is a great story for someone that wants to relax while they read, and it keeps you wondering what crazy thing will come around the corner next.
I received an autographed copy of this book as a first-reads giveaway.I love memoirs, but I wasn't sure that I would enjoy this one. I was pleasantly surprised.The author traveled and lived in many different countries and homes throughout her life. I was very impressed at adaptable she was. I found it very intriguing to read the descriptions of the varied places and cultures. The book also included some personal commentary on the history and political situations she lived through and the attitudes and reactions of herself and those around her. All of this was woven through a very personal story, including her relationships with family, friends and lovers, and her discovery and growth as an artist.