American Woman

By Susan Choi,

Book cover of American Woman

Book description

A fictionalization of the Patty Hearst kidnapping focuses on Jenny Shimada, a Japanese-American woman who helps Pauline and her kidnappers during their stay in a New York State farmhouse.

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Why read it?

1 author picked American Woman as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I’m fascinated by novels that treat famous real events from an insider perspective.

In this case, it’s the events following the Symbionese Liberation Army’s kidnapping of Patty Hearst in 1974. Fugitive SLA members, including a character based on Hearst, are sheltered by a former radical, Jenny Shimada (based on Wendy Yoshimura), who is also wanted by the FBI in connection with the bombing of draft offices.

Jenny is a sort of house mother to the volatile fugitives, who hope to write a book while in hiding to raise money for their cause, but inevitably she is drawn into their latest…

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