Monsoon Mansion by Cinelle Barnes
"Promise me, you'll always remember, none of this is normal. But we were not made for normal, and for that, I am sorry, my warrior girl", Papa said. "Be brave, be smart, be kind and have faith. Remember that you are made of light."
I found myself completely immersed in the moving memoir Monsoon Mansion, and I feel honored to have connected with Cinelle through Instagram. Stories like these get me all in my feelings because I have so much respect for women who endure hardships, hunger and abuse and through sheer tenacity and force of will, refuse to accept that this is their lot in life.....that they are destined to stay this way. Cinelle yearned to escape her family and better herself and she did not stop until she made this happen, even when it meant severing ties with her mother - the one person who is supposed to always be with you and be your biggest cheerleader. A thousand thanks to Lupita for hosting the giveaway that led me to this incredible gem. After I finished the book, I researched Cinelle and found an incredibly powerful article that she wrote For BuzzFeed to her daugher titled "Why Your Mother Can't Drive". By the time I finished reading it, tears were streaming down my face and I wanted to get in my car and drive to Cinelle’s house and give her the biggest hug in the history of hugs and thank her being so brave and candid and amazing. I will leave you with an excerpt from her article because it is such a compelling testament to the power of literature and to the fighting spirit that Cinelle possesses.
" Your mother can’t drive but she is mobile because of words. She’s been to many places in her mind because of the books she borrows from the library and the books she buys from the downtown bookstore and the articles your father emails her. She’s been to many places in her mind because White was in New England, Didion was in California, Lewis in London, Diaz in Santo Domingo, Ondaatje in Sri Lanka, Hagedorn in Manila, and Adichie in Nigeria. Her list of authors and places continues to grow; her list of fears shortens.”
If you would like to read the article in full, click here.
To connect with Cinelle and learn more about her book, click here