My latest book love is for memoirs and I've read more than 10 of them in the past month on topics from slavery in the south in the early 1900s to Chinese orphanages. Needless to say, this month's reading has been very emotional.
Maude was the very first memoir I read this month and everyone after was compared to it, their stories compared to hers. My heart raced, warmed, ached, and shattered for "Maude" as I read her story.
Synopsis: In 1906, I was barely over fourteen years old, and it was my wedding day. My older sister, Helen, came to my room, took me by the hand, and sat me down on the bed. She opened her mouth to say something, but then her face flushed, and she turned her head to look out the window. After a second, she squeezed my hand and looked back in my eyes. She said, “You’ve always been a good girl, Maude, and done what I told you. Now, you’re going to be a married woman, and he will be the head of the house. When you go home tonight after your party, no matter what he wants to do to you, you have to let him do it. Do you understand?”I didn’t understand, but I nodded my head anyway. It sounded strange to me, the way so many things did. I would do what she told me. I didn’t have a choice, any more than I had a choice in being born.
"Maude's" story is both beautiful and tragic and I shed many tears as I read it. If you love a true, honest, and beautiful story you are sure to love Maude.
Yellow Crocus was another beautiful and often heart wrenching tale of a privileged white girl and her black wet nurse who is more of a mother to her than her own mom. I smiled, cried, and gasped all on one page many times.
Synopsis: Mattie was never truly mine. That knowledge must have filled me as quickly and surely as the milk from her breasts. Although my family ‘owned’ her, although she occupied the center of my universe, her deepest affections lay elsewhere. So along with the comfort of her came the fear that I would lose her some day. This is our story...
So begins Lisbeth Wainwright’s compelling tale of coming-of-age in antebellum Virginia. Born to white plantation owners but raised by her enslaved black wet nurse, Mattie, Lisbeth’s childhood unfolds on the line between two very different worlds.
Growing up under the tender care of Mattie, Lisbeth adopts her surrogate mother’s deep-seated faith in God, her love of music and black-eyed peas, and the tradition of hunting for yellow crocuses in the early days of spring. In time, Lisbeth realizes she has freedoms and opportunities that Mattie does not have, though she’s confined by the societal expectations placed on women born to privilege. As Lisbeth grows up, she struggles to reconcile her love for her caregiver with her parents’ expectations, a task made all the more difficult as she becomes increasingly aware of the ugly realities of the American slavery system. When Lisbeth bears witness to a shockingly brutal act, the final vestiges of her naiveté crumble around her. Lisbeth realizes she must make a choice, one that will require every ounce of the courage she learned from her beloved Mattie.
This compelling historical novel is a richly evocative tale of love, loss, and redemption set during one of the most sinister chapters of American history.
This story broke and warmed my heart all at the same time. The twist near the end is spellbinding! A must read!
At the time I started this book I was feeling very stressed and down regarding my current financial situation- working part time means a meager pay cheque and debt is piling up. A couple of chapters into this book, I felt selfish, and suddenly my problems seemed very small.
Synopsis: When her family relocated to rural China in 2003, Kay Bratt was thrust into a new world, one where boys were considered more valuable than girls and poverty and the one-child policy had created an epidemic of abandoned infants. As a volunteer at a local orphanage, Bratt witnessed conditions that were unfathomable to a middle-class mother of two from South Carolina.
Based on Bratt's diary of her four years at the orphanage, Silent Tears offers a searing account of young lives rendered disposable. In the face of an implacable system, Bratt found ways to work within (and around) the rules to make a better future for the children, whom she came to love. The book offers no easy answers. While often painful in its clear-sightedness, Silent Tears balances the sadness and struggles of life in the orphanage with moments of joy, optimism, faith, and victory. It is the story of hundreds of children and of one woman who never planned on becoming a hero but became one anyway.
This book really makes you look at how fortunate you are and how much you have compared to so many other people in the world. Since reading it I have been doing some research on charities for Chinese orphans to see how I can help. Sure, I am poor to our standards, but by theirs I am rich and I'm sure where is a way I can manage to scrape up a little money to help these poor children. I will be sure to post about it when I do.
Until Next Time....
Until Next Time....