Ordinary Light

Ordinary Light

A Memoir

eBook - 2015
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"From the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet: a deeply moving memoir that explores coming-of-age and the meaning of home against a complex backdrop of race, faith, and the unbreakable bond between a mother and daughter. Tracy K. Smith had a fairly typical upbringing in suburban California: the youngest in a family of five children raised with limitless affection and a firm belief in God by a stay-at-home mother and an engineer father. But after spending a summer in Alabama at her grandmother's home, she returns to California with a new sense of what it means for her to be black: from her mother's memories of picking cotton as a girl in her father's field for pennies a bushel, to her parents' involvement in the Civil Rights movement. These dizzying juxtapositions--between her family's past, her own comfortable present, and the promise of her future--will eventually compel her to act on her passions for love and 'ecstatic possibility,' and her desire to become a writer. But when her mother is diagnosed with cancer, which she says is part of God's plan, Tracy must learn a new way to love and look after someone whose beliefs she has outgrown. Written with a poet's precision and economy, this gorgeous, probing kaleidoscope of self and family offers us a universal story of belonging and becoming, and the ways we find and lose ourselves amid the places we call home"--
"A memoir about the author's coming of age as she grapples with her identity as an artist, her family's racial history, and her mother's death from cancer"--
Publisher: New York :, Alfred A. Knopf,, 2015
ISBN: 9780307962676
Branch Call Number: Online eBook
Characteristics: 1 online resource
text file, rda
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

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May 28, 2016

Though I'm not (yet) familiar with Smith's poetry, this memoir is quietly stunning. She lays herself bare, as if she's speaking to herself, I think in part because she couldn't say and ask her beloved mother everything she wanted to before her premature death from cancer. Smith's a wonderful writer, bringing clearly to life each member of her large family, as well as friends, especially women she meets at Harvard. From a very young age, she has thought a great deal about what it means to be a middle class, ambitious black woman. Though at times, she rebelled, in a quiet way, against the spiritual values of her Southern Baptist mother, she finds herself going back to those values in raising her own children.

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