Edith Hudley is an African-American grandmother who was born poor in rural Texas in 1920. In this beguiling book she tells how, through many vicissitudes, she achieved a better life for herself, her children, and grandchildren. But she is no stereotype. Without sentimentality and with considerable humor, she tells of both the privations and pleasures of her long life so vividly that she draws the reader into her world.
In this book she tells her stories to two white academics who know her well. At the end of each chapter, they provide an "interlude" suggesting what her narrative can teach about the process of human development. As each stage of her life unfolds, they make it clear how her character and convictions were formed.
Edith Hudley's convictions are strong, particularly about child-raising which has been her abiding interest as mother, grandmother, and "other" mother.
She has more than her own family's welfare at heart. She has definite views on education and parenting, and her attitude to physical discipline will spark controversy. Not that that will worry her. She has never been afraid to speak her mind ("You always were mouthie," one of her brothers tells her.) What she has to say is well worth hearing.