Call Your Daughter Home - Deb Spera
"Listen to what I tell you," Grandmother said to me. "If you reach a point in life where it feels there is only dark around you, that's 'cause there is. You got to find the light. A hole can be a haven, but you can't stay in a hole forever. What's dark must come to light. Every person needs the sun.”
Call Your Daughter Home is a POWERFUL debut about motherhood, justice and the resiliency of women. I am still attempting to wrap my brain around the fact that this is Deb Spera’s first work of Southern fiction because I could feel the South Carolina heat rising off of the page, I could hear the preacher and the choir raising the roof during a rousing Sunday sermon, I could smell Retta's homemade biscuits rising in the kitchen and I could see the gators as they silently glided through the swamps. When I come across vivid writing like that, it just Gives. Me. Life.
This story is set right before the Great Depression and is told from three perspectives: a matriarch of a plantation, a first generation freed slave and a neighboring woman who is suffering brutal abuse at the hands of her husband. All three lives will become entwined as the story progresses, and though it was at times a difficult read, I flew through this book in one evening and I found myself holding my breath as I turned the last page. Oprah Magazine included it on her summer reading guide and when my friend and fellow reader Felicia DM'ed me to talk about it, she described the writing as "soulful" and I could not agree more. If you are a fan of historical or southern fiction, this is one you don't want to miss!
I do want to say that daily life was very hard during this time period...there was a lot of sickness and death and the story also covers spousal and child abuse. If these are sensitive topics for you, please proceed with caution.
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