Barbara Robinette Moss was born and raised in Alabama. She earned her MFA at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and has participated in more than 150 national art shows.
In the sepia-toned photograph on the cover of this touching memoir, Moss, her brothers and sisters, and their mother squint into the sun in a tableau that evokes Depression-era images of the rural South. On the back cover, a colorful self-portrait by the author shows a beautiful woman with huge hazel eyes. The contrast between the two images is symbolic of Moss's journey from poverty and despair to artistic and personal accomplishment. Many of the difficulties Moss suffered as a child will remind readers of Angela's Ashes, although the setting for her family's grinding poverty is rural Alabama. She remembers vividly the day her mother tasted corn and bean seeds coated with poisonous insecticides, figuring that if she survived, she could let her children appease their hunger. She lived, and the children ate the seeds. Moss's alcoholic father would often come home in a drunken rage and rouse her and her eight brothers and sisters to punish them far into the night for imaginary misdeeds. Moss was singled out for being left-handed; he attempted to "cure" the problem by tying down her left hand. Her mother, although weak, tried to protect the children from their father's irrational behavior. Most humiliating to Moss was the abnormal growth of her facial bones because of malnutrition and lack of dental and medical care. But Moss's childhood was not all despair and deprivation: she describes with nostalgic warmth the good times she shared with her siblings, and her mother's appreciation of music and poetry, which fueled Moss's aspirations. Moss has structured her memoir in layered, impressionistic flashbacks gracefully revealing the joys and sorrows of her remarkable life's journey. Photos. (Sept.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
USA Today Elegant and moving...nothing short of Angela's
Ashes for Americans, beautifully written in the female
People A story of overcoming -- of a little girl who discovered moments of beauty within daily despair and managed to transcend the brutality to become a loving mother and wife and successful artist.
The New York Times Book Review Heartbreaking...we can't help being moved by the image of a damaged little girl looking up at the sky, trying to make sense of a world turned to shambles by the big folks.