Friday, September 4, 2009

#BookReview: Truth: Four Stories I Am Finally Old Enough to Tell - Ellen Douglas

I was introduced to Ellen Douglas one Sunday morning on a local access channel. Mind you, I wasn't looking for her. I was actually watching the program because Tayari Jones, author of Leaving Atlanta was a guest and I was interested in hearing her. I was pleasantly surprised watching the round table discussion between the three authors, the name of the third author escapes me. Though I was already familiar with Ms. Jones' work, I had never heard of Ms. Douglas. Listening to her describe her books fascinated me further and I promptly went online to request several of her books.

Truth: Four Stories I Am Finally Old Enough to Tell
is based on her family history and as she said in the tv interview, she wasn't able to put the book out until all of the family members involved in the stories had passed and couldn't object. Each story touches on the intersecting histories of southern whites and blacks.

The first, Grant,presents a white family too busy living to be bothered with the dying uncle living in their back room. His care and companionship is left to Rosalie, his former housekeeper.

Julia and Nellieis an introduction to the author's colorful grandmothers, a few crazy relatives and first cousins that lived as man and wife for several years.

Hampton focuses on the black male servant of the author's grandmother who observes the family while living a private life that none of them have thought to imagine. The title character of this story reminded me of Hoke Colburn from Driving Ms. Daisy. Though he never argues with his employer, he does quietly disagree with her and maintains his dignity in all situations.

On Second Creek addresses the author's guilt about whether or not her family was involved in a slave massacre as a result of rumors about a slave uprising.

If you've read and enjoyed Kathrynn Stockett's, The Help, you'll certainly enjoy these shorts from a true master of storytelling.
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