2018-03-13 12:35:02

Best Book Deals & Free PDF Download On the Outskirts of Normal: Forging a Family against the Grain by Debra Monroe

On the Outskirts of Normal: Forging a Family against the Grain by Debra Monroe

Page Updated: Mar 13, 2018
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Debra Monroe
Southern Methodist University Press
Date of release


On the Outskirts of Normal: Forging a Family against the Grain

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Book review

Mired in debt and on the run from a series of broken homes, about-to-be-divorced Debra Monroe pulls up in front of a tumbledown cabin outside a small Texas town. Its isolation—miles from her teaching job in a neighboring city—feels right. She buys the house and ultimately doubles its size as she waits for the call from the adoption agency to tell her she’s going to be a mom. Now in her forties, she is swept into the strange new world of single motherhood, complicated by the fact that she’s white and her daughter is black. As Monroe learns to deal with her daughter’s hair and to re-enter the dating scene, all the while coping with her own and her daughter’s major illnesses, they live under the magnified scrutiny of the small, conservative town.  Confronting her past in order to make a better life for her daughter, Monroe rebuilds not only a half-ruined cabin in the woods but her sense of what it is that makes a sustainable family.

“Having driven across the country to see her brand-new adopted granddaughter, Debra Monroe’s mother says the first thing that comes into her head: ‘I knew she’d be black, but not this black.’  Monroe simply says, ‘Mom, there’s a blank in the baby book called Grandma’s First Words.’  The sly, dry humor of this, the offering of the second chance, the reminder that everything, even the mistakes, will be written down—tells you most of what you need to know about Monroe’s approach to life, and to memoir. Her generosity of spirit never fails her.”—Marion Winik, author of First Comes Love

“Monroe’s memoir forges a remarkable canniness about motherhood and its twin perils, grief and love.”—Karen Brennan, author of Being with Rachel

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