Before Women Had WingsBook - 1996
Avocet Abigail "Bird" Jackson embarks on a spiritual quest for salvation as she struggles to escape the chaos, fear, and turmoil of her parents' lives and make sense of a confusing and desperate world
Blackwell North Amer
My true name is Avocet. Avocet Abigail Jackson. But because Mama couldn't find anyone who thought Avocet was a fine name for a child, she called me Bird. Which is okay by me. She named both her children after birds, her logic being that if we were named for something with wings then maybe we'd be able to fly above the shit in our lives.
So explains Bird Jackson, the narrator of Before Women Had Wings. She takes us from the shadows of an abandoned Florida citrus grove to the glare of a sprawling city and the transient world of The Travelers Motel. There she meets Miss Zora, a healer whose prayers over the bones of winged creatures are meant to guide their souls to heaven.
Starstruck by a dime-store picture of Jesus, Bird fancies herself "His girlfriend" and embarks upon a spiritual quest for salvation, even as the chaos and fear of her home life plunge her into a stony silence. In stark and honest language, she tells the tragic life of her father, a sweet-talking wanna-be country music star; tracks her older sister's perilous journey into womanhood; and witnesses as her mother - a bitter woman haunted by a violent past and an alcoholic present - makes a courageous and ultimately devastating decision. But most profound is Bird's own story - her struggle to sift through the ashes of her parents' lives and to make sense of a world where fear is more plentiful than hope, retribution more valued than love.
Avocet Abigail "Bird" Jackson embarks on a spiritual quest for salvation as she struggles to escape the chaos, fear, and turmoil of her parents' lives and make sense of a confusing and desperate world. By the author of Sugar Cage.
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Bird is abused young girl in South. Older sister also beaten by parents. Father beats mother, even at one point hiring someone to beat her more viciously than he can. Father commits suicide and mother and girls move to trailer park/motel where she works and continues abuse. Youngest girl meets kind black woman in park. At halfway point I skipped to end. No need to read last half of book to understand end, which was unrealistic.
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