Anything We Love Can Be Savedby Alice Walker
In Anything We Love Can Be Saved, Alice Walker writes about her life as an activist, in a book rich in the belief that the world is saveable, if only we will act. Speaking from her heart on a wide range of topics--religion and the spirit, feminism and race, families and identity, politics and social change--Walker begins with a moving autobiographical essay in/b>… See more details below
In Anything We Love Can Be Saved, Alice Walker writes about her life as an activist, in a book rich in the belief that the world is saveable, if only we will act. Speaking from her heart on a wide range of topics--religion and the spirit, feminism and race, families and identity, politics and social change--Walker begins with a moving autobiographical essay in which she describes her own spiritual growth and roots in activism. She goes on to explore many important private and public issues: being a daughter and raising one, dreadlocks, banned books, civil rights, and gender communication. She writes about Zora Neale Hurston and Salman Rushdie and offers advice to Bill Clinton. Here is a wise woman's thoughts as she interacts with the world today, and an important portrait of an activist writer's life.
NOTE: This edition does not include photographs.
Amid the jumble are a handful of essays that do charm. My favorite is, surprisingly enough, an essay about Walker's longing for feline companionship. "Five years ago I decided I was ready to share my life with a cat. I had had cats before, but things had gone wrong," begins Walker. She then details her checkered past with two needy strays that cried ceaselessly while the writer meditated or worked. Despite her dismal track record (both cats were given the boot), Walker describes the hard-won peace she forges with the garrulous Frida in a nicely understated parable about accepting oneself and one's chosen companions, flaws and all.
Although Walker's tales of daily life can be amusing, some of her political speeches are sloppy. Off-the-cuff pronouncements are fine for the commencements or rallies where they were originally delivered, but they're tedious in print. Worse, when Walker rails against the West African practice of female genital mutilation, she squanders her opportunity to reach a broad audience by making her case far too subjectively, comparing the partial blinding she suffered in a childhood accident to the sexual "blinding" experienced by African women. Walker's wounded eye is such a weird and distracting metaphor for genital mutilation that it blinded me to her putative subject -- the widespread and sometimes fatal practice of female circumcision and infibulation.
As you read this collection, you can't help comparing Walker's work to that of another writer-activist -- Grace Paley. Paley's short stories and essays are so sturdily crafted that the social issues addressed become witty, alive and worth treasuring, while the pieces in Anything We Love often seem as worn and sad as castoffs that nobody's buying.--Salon
- Random House Publishing Group
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