by Jesmyn Ward

Reviewer Rating:


A poignant and maddening memoir.  The author lost five men from her family and friends over the span of a couple of years due to drugs, murder, accidents and suicide. Including, heartbreakingly, her brother, due to a drunk driver. How could this be happening? The author gives a birds eye view of growing up smack in the middle of the cycle of poverty and its costs. Drugs, depression, absentee fathers, overworked mothers, lack of quality education, and no real job prospects lead to living in an environment where the “wolf” is constantly at the door and stalking their lives.  Is this failure a cultural problem? a personal problem? The author left her family and upbringing in rural Mississippi to go to Stanford University, but do you ever really leave your childhood behind? Memorably frustrating, why can’t we break the cycle of poverty? Or affect social change in any real way? This is a book that will stay with the reader long after he/she has finished reading.

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