Her Own Place: A Novel

( 1 )

Overview

Dori Sanders's first novel, Clover, earned rave reviews, wide national sales, a Walt Disney movie option, the coveted Lillian Smith Award, and its author's appearance on NBC's "Sunday Today" show. In her eagerly awaited second novel, Her Own Place, Sanders again delights in the comedy and keen pathos of everyday life as it is lived by everyday people - black and white. The only child of South Carolina tenant farmers and still in her teens when she marries, Mae Lee Barnes saves her wages from a job at a munitions ...
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Overview

Dori Sanders's first novel, Clover, earned rave reviews, wide national sales, a Walt Disney movie option, the coveted Lillian Smith Award, and its author's appearance on NBC's "Sunday Today" show. In her eagerly awaited second novel, Her Own Place, Sanders again delights in the comedy and keen pathos of everyday life as it is lived by everyday people - black and white. The only child of South Carolina tenant farmers and still in her teens when she marries, Mae Lee Barnes saves her wages from a job at a munitions plant, buys farmland of her own, and waits for her husband's return from World War II. He returns. Then he departs, returns, departs. He will not stay put. Eventually he is gone for good, but not until Mae Lee is left with five children to raise and a farm to run, by herself. Mae Lee is, in succession, war bride, abandoned wife, proud mother, dutiful daughter, successful farmer, retiree and town dweller, equally proud grandmother, first black hospital auxiliary member, elegant hostess, avid Braves fan, coper with things as they come. How does she do it? She isn't Gifted, Brilliant, All-Knowing; she is - well, Mae Lee Barnes is simply Indomitable. And while she is going about her life, the lives of black people and white people, the rural community and little town she retires to are changing. Without sermons, without pronouncements, Dori Sanders tells a story about ordinary, everyday people taking part in a momentous transformation involving ways of heart and mind. Mae Lee Barnes feels and participates in the change. But, in the end, she's still Mae Lee Barnes, still taking things as they come, still anticipating. Dori Sanders's Her Own Place is a story to savor, to treasure. Above all, it's a story to enjoy.

The award-winning author of Clover (optioned by Walt Disney Pictures) presents another fascinating story about everyday life as lived by everyday people, black and white. Sanders tells about people who take part in a momentous transformation involving attitudes, opportunities, ways of heart and mind--in the South, in the nation.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This story belongs to Mae Lee Barnes--and reflects a life punctuated by the births, graduations, weddings and deaths that shape our memories. . . . But this is more than the success story of one indomitable black matriarch. Sanders sets her novel during times of changes, inviting us to speculate on the broader implications of the social realignment brought on by the civil rights movement. . . . Sanders writes in a vernacular she can understand, about a lifestyle she knows intimately. . . . A voice that should appeal to anyone." --Washington Post

"Somewhere in the first five pages of Her Own Place the glow begins. . . . And you begin to glow because it just feels so good." --Boston Globe

"Ms. Sanders' writing [is] sweet, genuine, comic, unsentimental but eternally forgiving. . . . Indeed, something to delight in, a fresh wind above the stale cynicism that spoils so much of contemporary literature." --Dallas Morning News

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Told in simple prose with a country lilt, this novel by the author of Clover works a homespun charm that grows steadily more powerful. We meet black teenager Mae Lee Barnes in rural South Carolina, where she is hoping her high school sweetheart will propose before he goes off to fight in WW II. They marry; while he serves in the Army, she works in a munitions plant, saves every cent and, with a little help from her parents, buys a farm from a white family. Her handsome but feckless husband gives her five children, then abandons them, but Mae Lee never buckles. Sanders recounts the events in Mae Lee's development fluidly, almost as if she were telling her story aloud. As Mae Lee matures, her humor as well as dignity become ever more accessible, even when her memory and strength begin to ebb. A handful of touching sections capture the pain of petty racism, as when Mae Lee, the only black volunteer at the hospital, attends a dinner party hosted by a colleague and spies a ``kerchief-clad, red-lipped black mammy doll'' in the kitchen cupboard. With this warm and winning novel, Sanders demonstrates growing mastery of the craft. LG selection; author tour. (May)
Library Journal
Sanders follows her award-winning first novel, Clover LJ 3/1/90, with a novel about the life and times of Mae Lee Barnes. The story begins when Mae Lee is in high school during World War II and ends when she is in her sixties. During each phase of her life, Mae Lee faces down new challenges with courage and determination. Early on, when she is abandoned by her husband, Mae Lee struggles to raise her five children while running a farm. In her later years, she struggles fo find fulfillment after her children are grown. The pathos is well balanced with humor: Mae Lee's everyday trials include her parents' deaths, the realization that her memory is slipping, and the shock of seeing her grandson wearing an earring. The novel also chronicles the transformation of rural South Carolina through racial integration. Sanders subtly shows Mae Lee's life to be richer than that of the wealthy white woman she so admired during her early years. A salute to the extraordinary in ordinary lives and a delightful reading experience.-- Joanne Snapp, Virginia Commonwealth Univ., Richmond
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781611172447
  • Publisher: University of South Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 4/15/2013
  • Series: Southern Revivals
  • Edition description: Updated
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 810,855
  • Product dimensions: 4.90 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Dori Sanders was born in York County, South Carolina. Her father’s farm, where her family still raises Georgia Belle and Alberta peaches, is one of the oldest black-owned farms in York County. In the growing season she farms the family land, cultivating peaches, watermelons, and vegetables, and helps staff Sanders’ Peach Shed, her family’s farmstand. Clover, her first novel, was followed by the novel Her Own Place and a cookbook, Dori Sanders’ Country Cooking. 

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2002

    Could not put it down

    This book made me put my life into Mae Lee's story. Understanding her feelings, but not understanding at the same time. I could not put it down and finished it in 3 days.

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