Before Women Had Wings (Ballantine Reader's Circle) by Connie May Fowler

By Connie May Fowler

My identify is Avocet Abigail Jackson. yet simply because Mama could not locate someone who suggestion Avocet was once an outstanding identify for a kid, she referred to as me chook. that is ok by way of me. She named either her youngsters after birds, her good judgment being that if we have been named for anything with wings then probably we would be able to fly above the shit in our lives. . . .                       So says chook Jackson, the spell binding narrator of Connie may well Fowler's vibrant and brilliantly written, earlier than girls Had Wings.                       Starstruck by way of a dime-store photo of Jesus, poultry fancies herself "His female friend" and embarks upon a religious quest for salvation, while the chaos of her domestic lifestyles plunges her right into a stony silence. In stark and sincere language, she tells the tragic lifetime of her father, a sweet-talking wanna-be kingdom song famous person, tracks her older sister's perilous trip into womanhood, and witnesses her mom make a brave and eventually devastating decision.                      Yet such a lot profound is Bird's personal story--her fight to sift throughout the ashes of her mom and dad' lives, her assembly with omit Zora, a healer whose prayers over the bones of winged creatures are supposed to advisor their souls to heaven, and her will to make experience of an international the place worry is extra abundant than desire, retribution extra valued than love. . . .                     "A factor of heart-rending attractiveness, a relocating exploration of affection and loss, violence and grief, forgiveness and redemption."           --Chicago Tribune                      "There is not any denying the intensity of Connie may well Fowler's expertise and the breadth of her imagination."           --The big apple instances publication Review                      "Brilliant."           --The Boston Sunday Globe

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Example text

Thunderstorms blazed and rumbled all around us, but the grove and our little house and the lake that I tried to part remained untouched by cooling rain. And every night my parents fought. Most times, the fights weren't preceded by anything so spectacular as Daddy holding a gun to his head. No, the twin evils that fueled their anger were moonrise and liquor. My mama's voice would grow loud and hateful. My daddy would start counting, tossing paper money on Mr. Bailey T. Watson's kitchen table-- "fifty, seventy-five, a hundred"--trying to prove that we weren't utterly destitute, that he hadn't spent our living on worthless women.

Our secrets, though, they traveled down a two-way street. Mama made Phoebe and me swear not to tell Hank about Daddy's hell-raising ways or about how much the two of them fought. She warned us that if Hank knew, he might kill Daddy and that he almost did kill him before I was born. Hank had come home from school and discovered Daddy beating on Mama. I don't know the details, just that Hank used his fists to calm Daddy down. Mama said Hank and Daddy never did speak much to each other after that.

If Mama's heart was turning itself inside out with worry, she did not show it. With hands on hips, that pocketbook dangling off her arm, she looked like a woman determined not to become unhinged. "Hello, Jack. " He opened the backseat door for us. His arms were so long, looked like they'd been stretched in a torture chamber. "Get in, girls," Mama ordered. Jack touched Mama on the shoulder. "Glory," he said in a concerned tone, "everything is going to be all right. " Mama nodded, her lipsticked mouth sealed like a knife slash across her dark face.

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