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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