Monday, April 16, 2012

and do remember me - Marita Golden

I can't remember a book whose writing was so haunting and whose lead character I so empathised with.
Jessie never fully recovers from ongoing childhood trauma - well ok-- her father starts raping her from the age of 12 and her upstanding mother ignores all the signs as she's recovering from cancer. We meet Jessie running away from home who luckily meets Lincoln, an orphan who attaches himself to the Freedom Movement back in the turbulent '60s when the local whites were making things difficult for the Blacks to register to vote. The author describes vividly the difficulties and the determination that the African-Americans went through.  And yet the picture of Life in the South is a fairly balanced one - Macon the other protagonist has a mother who teaches English Literature at a university and even Jessie's father joins the Police Force. Jessie's siblings' lives reflect that of an average family but poor Jessie never gets over her trauma and her Life is pretty much ruined by the seeds of mistrust and becomes an alcoholic for pretty much most of her productive years. She pushes away the love of her life- Lincoln - I guess Love is not enough, who moves on to be disillusioned in Hollywood. Interesting as I am currently reading "Healing Life's Hurts" by an Irish psychologist who has some good ideas about schooling and of course, feels that 90% of addictions are due to trying to self-treat or evade childhood hurts.
I was very impressed with this writer as the characters were fairly balanced - she managed to show both the good sides and the flaws that make us all human. Courtland - the other 'hero' while intellectually connecting with the bold Macon leaves her without a seemingly backwards glance. The book ended unsatisfactorily for me with Jessie making peace with her mother after 30 odd years or so - I found it a bit unbelievable that the mother would have lasted THAT long and that Jessie was her favourite child and she would not have protected her better.

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