THE SEVENTH CHILD by Freddie Mae Baxter


A Lucky Life
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An alternatingly touching and humorous walk down memory lane that illuminates as often as it entertains. In an era in which big is assumed to be better and celebrity is envied, this seemingly “small” tale of an ordinary life might be easily dismissed as dull. That would be a mistake. Baxter, an African-American woman who has spent much of her life serving others, is a modern-day everywoman whose story will resonate for readers of every stripe. The seventh child in a family of eight, Baxter was raised by her mother after her father abandoned the family while she was still a child. Baxter tries picking cotton and then cooking for white families but eventually decides to head north to seek her fortune in New York City. She works for a variety of women, including the one responsible for bringing her and editor Gloria Bley Miller together. (Their regular chats during bus rides to visit their former employer—friend once she moves permanently to a nursing home prompt Miller to tape Baxter’s thoughts and reminiscences to create this book.) Baxter is an independent, folksy woman who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to express it. Here she talks—in a rather random yet still refreshing down-home way—about everything from kids and TV to the bombings of black churches in the South. Here’s an example of her independent-minded views: —When it came to getting married, I didn—t trust the men for marriage. And I just didn—t love anybody enough to say I was going to make it my life. I like having fun too much to marry somebody. . . . I—m not barricaded in no place with no guy who’s gonna tell me when I can come and when I can go.— Part memoir, part social history, this will make readers appreciate life’s smaller moments and, yes, feel lucky. (First printing of 125,000)

Pub Date: May 4th, 1999
ISBN: 0-375-40620-4
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1999