Valerie Solanas: The Defiant Life of the Woman Who Wrote SCUM (and Shot Andy Warhol)

Breanne Fahs. Feminist Press, $22.95 trade paper (360p) ISBN 978-1-55861-848-0
Fahs (Performing Sex), director of Arizona State University’s Feminist Research on Gender and Sexuality Group, offers a straightforward, engaging, and comprehensive biography of Valerie Solanas, author of the SCUM Manifesto and notorious as the woman who shot Andy Warhol. Rather than focusing on the Warhol shooting, Fahs gives a refreshing degree of weight to not only SCUM Manifesto—and its contribution to the birth of radical feminism—but also to Solanas’s earlier writings and creative pursuits, such as her playwriting and attempts at publishing in periodicals. Fahs, who interviewed her subject’s family, friends, enemies, as well as Warhol associates, doesn’t shy away from how hated and feared Solanas was by many feminists of the era, such as Betty Friedan, but she portrays Solanas as melancholy, warm, and emotionally broken, as well as violent and combative. While some characters pop up and drop away depending on their relevance to Solanas’s life in the moment, giving a disjointed feel to the narrative, Fahs ably fills a notable gap in feminist history with this accessible volume. 36 b&w photos. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/24/2014
Release date: 04/01/2014
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-55861-849-7
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