Maracaibo Oil Brat: Book Two has a five-star rating on

“The author is uprooted and relocated to Venezuela in her teenage years as her family moves so her father can take a job working in the oil fields of Maracaibo:

This is the second of two books written by Susan Berman describing her experiences living as a girl in Maracaibo, Venezuela, while her father was an employee of the Sun Oil company. She describes entering her teenage years and living in the tightly connected community established for the employees and their families. She became fluent in Spanish and was able to enjoy the company of the other kids whose parents were also employed in the oil industry. Susan and her friends, desperate not to miss any important cultural and fashion trends in the U.S., used all their resources to maintain connections with the clothes, music, and dance fashions of the day. The author highlights the significant differences between those days and ours – the heavy smoking, the casual use of insults when referring to other cultures, descriptions of family interactions, and the way the Susan and her friends creatively adapted to their new culture. I would highly recommend this book.”

    — Eileen A.

“What a trip down memory lane. I know this author personally, but even if I did not I would have enjoyed this detail account of junior high years overseas. She is a very talented writer and makes reading this book very fun and interesting. I would highly recommend this book.”

    — Pat M.

“Beautiful insight into a young girl's mind growing up in a far place of home. Susan defines herself and her environment in an insightful and lovely way. I recommend this memoir.”

    — Alan G.

For the full reviews of Maracaibo Oil Brat: Book Two please visit

Maracaibo Oil Brat: Book One has a five-star rating on

“A unique and interesting memoir about a young Texas girl coming of age in revolution-torn Venezuela. Told in a conversational, kitchen-table voice, the wry and funny stories are entertaining on the surface but reveal a far deeper sense of loneliness and homesickness of a middle class teenager unceremoniously plucked from her familiar life and dropped in alien territory.

This story is also a peek into the expat oil brat culture of that era, the culture shock all the more vivid from the point of view of a homesick teenager.

Great period details and tropical imagery transport the reader to another time and place.”

    — Melanie C.

“For those of us that grew up and worked in Venezuela in the days before the nationalizing of the oil industry in the seventies, let alone before Coronel Hugo Chávez “Robolución”, this book strikes a cord indeed.

The sweet and sympathetic observations by a young girl of the disconnect between two cultures are poignant: That of a Venezuela emerging from medieval feudalism and that of the U.S. Southwest's "Oil Patch".

One would wish that Oliver Stone, Sean Penn and Michael Moore had taken the course in Venezuelan Social Studies that Ms. Berman took in the Escuela Bella Vista in the 1950s!

I am looking forward to Books Two and Three!”

    — Peter Tveskov (author of Conquered, Not Defeated)

“Told from the perspective of an endearing young girl, readers are transported back into the 1950s when everyone smoked cigarettes and children addressed their mothers with "yes Ma'am." I was filled with sympathy for the narrator who has not only been transplanted to a new country, but then has to learn her studies in a foreign language. Not only did she have to cope with a new language, but also different foods. I wished I could go back in time to send her a bag of her coveted Fritos. Not only does this book create a nostalgic feel, but it is peppered with tidbits of history. I highly recommended this book.”

   — Jill H.

“This story of a brave young girl is a great read, and gives historical insight into the oil families of the fifties. I recommend this book, and look forward to 'the rest of the story'.”

   — Fran C.

“The experiences, thoughts, and feelings of a young American expatriate are described very well . . . Its relaxed and easy style makes for a quick but enjoyable read. I look forward to reading the next volume.”

  — Betsy M.

For the full reviews of Maracaibo Oil Brat: Book One please visit


Maracaibo Oil Brat © 2013-2019 Susan McClurg Berman. All rights reserved.