The Women Who Raised Me: A Memoir

The Women Who Raised Me: A Memoir

by Victoria Rowell
4.1 22

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Women Who Raised Me 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
While some readers may take great pains to dissect Rowell's descriptions of her biological mother--and various foster mothers and mentors--I will avoid the unnecessary recounting of every detail of these remarkable women. Needless to say, the venerable and undaunted Black farm owner Agatha Armstead---Rowell's long term foster mother---receives considerable and much deserved attention in this book. Yet there may be some readers who may have difficulty understanding the author's obvious need to elevate and illuminate her biological schizophrenic White mother, Dorothy Rowell. The irony is that the author¿s real and literary attempt at exposing, explaining, and claiming her biological mother is remarkably African-American only a handful of us Black folks can claim any kind of racial purity due to our slave past--a past shaped as much by sexual exploitation and the occasional violation of social and legal codes proscribing interracial relations, as by the exploitation of labor. Both old and new Black American literature, like Black American life, is filled to the brim with accounts of unknown and unnamed ancestors, many of whom did not arrive from Africa most of whom were not anxious to claim their darker relatives. This memoir is a 20th and 21st century story as old as Black America itself. For persons who are visibly and culturally Black, yet who have a White parent, shaping an identity can be visceral and defiantly individual. Yet our long dead Black ancestors did exactly what Rowell does in this book--they claimed what they knew, and embraced the people they needed to embrace to give themselves a sense of history, belonging, and community. Without a full family history, the author can only tell us what she knows about her biological family tree and like the ancestors of old, it is a fragmented and painful account. Like many an orphaned slave child, the foster child in this book claimed family wherever she found it. Her search for family and a sense of belonging ripples through this book and is set to life through her crisp and conversational prose. The women who raised her are family by their actions and by Rowell's claiming them as such. Readers looking for an autobiography of titillating personal details will not find it here. Rowell delves deep enough into her childhood and young adult experiences. Yet she essentially keeps her focus on the array of women who have mothered and mentored her. That is, of course, the power of this text. All of her mothers/mentors come across as ordinary women called to the extraordinary and often painful task of foster parenting a child that they may be unable to keep. The beauty of the text is the realization that all of these women are women any one of us might meet anywhere. Rowell has long been an advocate and voice for children in foster care. She has tirelessly encouraged ordinary folks to become foster parents and mentors. She adds to that stellar legacy with this book. Her literary accomplishment, however, is that she pulls this off without excessive melodrama or moralizing. All at once you weep, and all at once you celebrate. You empathize, but do so without pity. I highly recommend this work and look forward to the next.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love books about strong women who have overcome difficult situations. This is a wonderful book. Victoria has turned her life inside out for all the world to see and hers is a truly amazing and inspiring story. It is beautifully written and, as a history buff, I enjoyed the background information about Maine. I'm glad she included the heartbreaking story of Malaga Island, which, before reading the book, I'd never known existed. This story should encourage everyone to strive to be the very best they can be, no matter how difficult their past. Victoria is a successful woman who has chosen to use her success and recognition to help others.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the most engaging stories I have read in a very long time. The manner in which Victoria presents these very different women, and the role they each played in shaping the person she has become, is phenominal. Having met the author during a conference where she held a book signing, the genuine warmth and 'realness' of her personality is evident in every page and through the life-lessons she shares with her readers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book I could not put in down I could not wait to see what else she had to say I will be reading it again
Guest More than 1 year ago
Her life, she has made it her own. For all the women women in her life, they should all be so pround of such a remarkable woman she is today.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This stands out in an outstanding way. Victoria Rowell has given us an excellent piece of literature that will help all of humanity.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is heart-warming, inspiring, and amazing. Victoria Rowell has been dealt some hard times in her life but she still amazingly survived!! The women who raised her were truly her angels from God. After reading this book you will believe that dreams really do come true!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I admire Victoria for her resilience. Thebook is not written in "story form." Lots of extra details about so manny ppeople it was hard to keep them straight.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sandra Menzie More than 1 year ago
What a wonderful book. I laughed,cried,and was amazed by everything vicky endured. How much she was loved by all. Please read this, you won't be sorry.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Savannah2u More than 1 year ago
This should be required reading in classrooms as this young woman represents someone who didn't let her background and circumstances prevent her from attaining some of the highest achievements in life. The storytelling is so skillfully told and the details of her relationships with her mentors and friends, dance training, travel adventures and lessons in growing up makes this a page turner. I have recommended this book to several friends and relatives and they all agree with me that it was difficult putting this one down as we wanted to just keep reading more.
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CathyD More than 1 year ago
Interesting, touching and uplifting life story. Proves that anyone can make a significant impact on the life of another, with determination and love. Amost every woman the author met turned out to be an amazing powerhouse -- almost too good to be true. A book not easy forgotten.
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LoisOnMaui More than 1 year ago
This book is a pager turner. You want to finish it to learn what happened in the life the character/author. You want to meet the author and be her friend.
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