bell hooks, who teaches English at New York's City College, is well-known as an abrasive, take-no-prisoners feminist cultural critic. In this moving memoir of her childhood she explains the roots of her forceful and rigorous attitude to life and literature. She grew up in a poor Southern black family, an heir to poverty and racism, surrounded by people too wrapped up in their own struggles to offer much help to her. She writes here of her mother's suffering in an abusive marriage, of her siblings' rejection of her for being "different," of her own painful discovery of sexuality, and of how she found escape through books. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Just as hooks, author of several books on issues of race and sex (Killing Rage, etc.) has idiosyncratically taken a lower-case name, her memoir, written in imagistic three-page segments, takes an unconventional approach. Aiming "to conjure a rich magical world of southern black culture," she avoids conventional signifiers like place names and dates and even shifts between a first-person and a third-person voice, referring to herself as "she." Add such techniques to simple, present-tense syntax, and the results can sound precious at times. Still, hooks is right to declare that "[n]ot enough is known about the experience of black girls in our society," so her effort deserves close reading. She struggles with a toy Barbie, preferring a brown doll. She finds sustenance in a rich black community?though one grandmother hates dark skin. She turns to religion and she loves the library. Her mother and older sister treat her menarche with more scorn than sympathy, but she discovers on her own the private pleasure of sexuality. There are scenes of the growing young woman learning about jazz, developing a crush, seeing her parents fight, finding one white teacher who seems unafraid of black kids. In the end, this book leaves us with a familiar but not unsatisfying image, that of a sensitive youth finding in books deliverance from "the wilderness of spirit I am living in."
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I was interested in this book because I was in one of the first class to be integrated in Illinois.Published 3 months ago by Linn Pierce
Easy read, love the story behind it and how much it ties into what we are dealing with in sociologyPublished 19 months ago by Tiffany Flodin
I am in a book club and everyone thought that it was wonderful. The author's poetic language and ability to describe her setting and feelings were impactfulPublished 23 months ago by Sharon R. Hobbs
What a wonderful voice... beautifully written in three page chapters...so lucky I found this gem. What honesty and depth of soul. Going to read more of her work soon!Published on September 1, 2013 by Donald W. Gwyther
This book is only good if you are in the mood to listen to someone complain about how horrible their life was. It was written more for the porpose ofPublished on June 24, 2013 by Ashley