Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Becoming a Goddess

You will never take anything for granted again after reading Change Me Into Zeus's Daughter by Barbara Robinette Moss (362.292 MOS Main).

This book is her memoir of growing up poor in rural Alabama, one of eight children. The daughter of a raging alcoholic father and a mother who was kind and caring, but powerless to protect herself or her children from the wanton abuses of the father, the author renders her story in a powerfully gripping style. This is one real life cast of characters you’ll never forget.

Meet her father, drunken, but charismatic, loving but hateful. When he woke the children up in the middle of the night, they never knew if they were going to have some bizarre punishment or play poker. Meet her mother, a woman who, despite the desperate circumstances in which they lived, imparted to her children a deep love of art and literature. This is a woman who once taped the children's paint-by-number paintings over the broken windows of the house they had moved into so that the world couldn't see in, saying "This is a wonderful way to display your art."

Meet Barbara, the author. Growing up with an abnormal facial structure due to malnutrition and no dental care, she prayed nightly to become attractive, to wake in the morning a beautiful daughter of Zeus. When this didn’t work, she saved her money and paid for braces and facial surgery. She became an artist, a writer. The story of how this woman rose from these beginnings to become the person writing this memoir is simply astonishing.

If you bother to read the first sentence of this book, you will be compelled to read the whole thing.

Okay, okay. I'll give you the first sentence. "Mother spooned the poisoned corn and beans into her mouth, ravenously, eyes closed, hands shaking."

Now who could read that and not keep going?

It will break your heart. It will make you weep. It will renew your belief in the power of the human spirit. It will make you want to find Barbara Robinette Moss and give her a hug.

And as I said in the beginning, it will make you realize that YOU HAVE GOT IT MADE! You will never take anything for granted again.

Reviewed by Nancy.

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