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South of My Dreams

Finding My American Home, A Memoir

F. K. Clementi



Published: Oct 15 2024


Published: Oct 15 2024

OA Ebook
Published: Oct 15 2024


The inclusion of this book in the Open Carolina collection is made possible by the generous funding of

Woman plans, God laughs . . . Woman Persists.

Introducing a new Jewish voice from the South that tells us with humor, panache, and raw frankness her irresistible story of what it means to become an American woman today.

South of My Dreams follows the adventures and misadventures of Fania, a quixotic heroine, who dreamed all her life of making it big in New York City. Growing up in 1970s Italy, Fania felt constrained by a stale environment, corrupt society, and national culture hostile to women's independence. In pursuit of her childhood fantasy, and heavily influenced by Hollywood films, she leaves everything behind to begin her new life in New York, where she thinks her American Dream awaits. Instead, her American nightmare begins. From miraculous breakthroughs to tragic setbacks, Fania's path is marked by an irreparable trauma while also being graced by intense love, faithful friendships, and inspiring mentors.

Through dramatic twists and turns—and to her great surprise—Fania learns the true meaning of the American expression to "go south."

Simultaneously merciless and humorous, F. K. Clementi's memoir is ultimately an inspiring account of a woman's disillusionment and personal rebirth. Entertaining, original, and poetic, South of My Dreams will resonate with all who fight hard for what they want and refuse to put aside their childhood dreams.

F. K. Clementi is a writer, public intellectual, and a professor of English and Jewish Studies at the University of South Carolina. She is the author of Holocaust Mothers and Daughters: Family, History, and Trauma.

"A memoir unlike any I've read before, captivating, even Proustian at times for the rich sensory details offered at every turn. Readers will easily fall into this melancholy, mellifluous account of a woman who sought, and found, the freedom to tell her own story on her own terms."—Tahneer Oksman, author of How Come Boys Get to Keep Their Noses?

"How does a Jewish woman from Rome, Italy make her way to the American South? The route is neither easy nor linear. . .. Yes, parts of Clementi's story are harrowing, but there are also surprising moments of dark humor that leaven her quest to find the place where she can be truly free, in a room of her own. South of My Dreams is an original, empowering story of gumption and survival."—Julie Metz, New York Times bestselling author of Perfection and Eva and Eve

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