Forthcoming: An Unreasonable Woman, by Diane Wilson

I met Diane at the BEA and got an advance copy of the book she wrote about her experience fighting pollution in Texas. She's one of the few people I've ever met who are neither redheads nor short whom I can honestly describe as a firecracker. She's been an activist for a lot of years, and she's one of the founders of CODE PINK: Women For Peace. An Unreasonable Woman is the story of the fight against Formosa that began her career as an environmental activist. She's a shrimper and a mother and she doesn't like the idea of her bay or her kids getting messed up by industrial chemicals. When she finds out that she lives in the most polluted county in the USA, she decides to do something about it. She calls a meeting. And a lot of people get nervous about it. What follows from there is a snow-balling intrigue of political pressure and intrigue - the only unusual thing about this story is that Diane Wilson stuck it out. She didn't give up and she didn't give in and eventually - after hunger strikes and press conferences and trips to Taiwan and threats and bribery - she wore them out.

I'd call this a literary memoir if I didn't think that was too limiting a term. Diane's voice (I think of her on a first-name basis now) is a little salty but oh-so-rich and fluid. She did not have a collaborator on this book; it is 100% authentically her own. She does justice equally to the shrimping community and its politics, and to the bay and its tides. She conveys her own thoughts and the feelings of each moment as it happened, and she reaches way down to the bottom of her heart and spreads out the messy tangle of her own motivations and her own family and history just like it's one of the shrimp nets she mends.

I fell in love with Diane reading this book. Despite what her editor said to me, the book probably did need a little more editing because at a few points I just wasn't sure what was going on (darn boat jargon). But it's really worth sticking out. Highly recommended.

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