Novelist and memoirist Golden (The Edge of Heaven, LJ 11/1/97) writes from her own experience to inspire the strengths and gifts of female-headed families. Raised in a female-headed household and a single mother for ten years, Golden also interviewed seven single mothers and adult children raised in female-headed households. Her goal is to counter the weight of bad news surrounding these families by exploring the paths and perspectives of women who succeeded in creating a healthy environment for their children. Popular self-help titles on the topic abound; a scholarly title that shares Golden's goal of empowerment is African American Single Mothers, edited by Bette J. Dickerson (Sage, 1995). Highly recommended for public libraries.--Paula Dempsey, DePaul Univ. Lib., Chicago
Single mothers get a break in this welcome, although slim, rebuttal to the frequently cited statistics that children from single-parent homes are destined for trouble. Herself a single mother during her son's critical middle years, novelist Golden (Creative Writing/Virginia Commonwealth Univ.; The Edge of Heaven, 1997, etc.) celebrates the sons and daughters of single mothers who are not negative statistics. She was galvanized by a research study that dared to wonder, "If one out of every twenty-two African American males will be killed by violent crime, what about the other twenty-one?" Accordingly, Golden surveyed the lives of single mothers whose children have avoided violence and trouble with the law and appear to be on the road to personal and career success. Among them are Charlotte, who raised five drug-free, jail-free sons in a Washington, D.C., ghetto solely on the income from a job as a school cafeteria worker; Claudia, a lawyer and administrator, who adopted a baby daughter, now grown into a thoughtful and self-confident teenager; and soccer mom Janet, whose marriage to a corporate executive dissolved, leaving her with two children and no ostensible skills. Janet returned to school and discovered talents for writing and teaching. Most of the other women introduced in this book didn't choose to be single mothers, but once assuming the role, found their children to be as much of a support to them as they were to their children. Golden believes that they took systematic steps to clear-cut goals, seeking support in a religious faith, in extended family (including church and community groups-and, not always least, the children's fathers), and in professional counseling ormediation; they also benefited from ambition, optimism, and an ability to let go of the past. Cheers, for a change, for the resourceful and resilient single parent and for the rewards that can come to both mother and children. (Author tour) .