I've always liked Latin Composers. Heitor Villa-Lobos was a Brazilian composer who wrote some marvelous pieces for the piano. He also wrote a ballet. If you'd like to listen to it, here is Overture for Dawn in a Rain Forest.
Fierce: A Memoir by Barbara Robinette Moss
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Barbara Robinette Moss grew up dirt poor in rural Alabama. Here in Texas there is an un-compassionate term for people like her and her family: white trash. She was the fourth of eight children who found their strength in their long-suffering mother who threw herself in between her children and her hard-drinking, abusive husband. This is Moss' personal memoir and also perhaps a therapeutic exercise to make sense of her life and put her demons to rest.
There is much to commend about this book. For all its tragedy, it lacks bitterness. Moss writes about her family members with compassion. She sometimes questions God, but neither is she bitter towards him.
She gives a engaging, colorful account of her upbringing and the early years of her adulthood. She describes her fight to survive an alcoholic father and two abusive marriages. Her life as a single mom, going to school, raising her son the best she can is the best part. You feel their struggle through the poverty, going to college and then graduate school.
But there are gaps. She is living on the edge of financial straits. Then she's not. Where was the transition and how did it happen? She endures relationships with crazy boyfriends and then she's happily married to a stable man with a good job. Where did he come from? How did they meet?
She hops and skips. Where she focuses the story, the reading is quite vivid. But there are too many loose ends. Raising her young son, we see a Mama Bear with her arms wrapped around her baby cub. Then he's a teenager and sidelined. Was she too involved with her psychopathic lovers to notice her son anymore?
In all, we see a woman's story of how she unraveled and put herself back together again. Very good. But she could have connected more of the dots and tied up the loose ends. Too many gaps intrude upon the overflow.
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