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Unmasking: A Woman's Journey


Honest, well-intentioned personal history.

In her debut memoir, an African-American woman tells the story of how she became an advocate for social change.

The book begins with a moving prologue in which Lockhart tells of counseling high-risk teenage girls, setting the stage for the author’s story of discrimination, self-hatred, personal growth and self-acceptance. Lockhart was born in Eudora, Ark., and at age 5, after her parents’ divorce, she moved to Mt. Pleasant, Tenn. Her mother, Thelma, who dreamed of becoming a New York model, sent the author to Lansing, Mich., to live with her aunt and uncle, with the understanding she could return when her mother had a career and steady income. While living with the Ewings, Lockhart was sexually abused by her uncle starting at age 8; her trust faltered and she shut herself off from others. Growing up in the turbulent 1960s during the civil-rights movement, the author experienced athletic and academic success and, because she was light-skinned, prejudice from both whites and blacks. In time, her dreams of becoming an Olympic athlete were supplanted by a career in social service, although she earned money in other ways, including cleaning houses and even writing speeches for baseball superstar Hank Aaron. Her minister husband, whom she later divorced, was abusive and irresponsible; the book insightfully explores how a woman of beauty, intelligence and determination can end up in such an oppressive marriage. The narrative, although well written, occasionally lags, but celebrity references (in addition to Aaron, she was acquainted with the singer Marvin Gaye and civil-rights pioneer Rev. Ralph David Abernathy, among others) pick up the pace, as does a stirring account of Lockhart’s climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. Readers may find some points contentious; for example, during the author’s account of her career in social services, she faults the white power structure for the sad state of the “system” in Michigan, although both the administrator who hired her and her supervisor were African-American. Overall, however, the book is a redemptive tale of confronting challenges and finding the courage to forgive and move on.

Honest, well-intentioned personal history.

Pub Date: Dec. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0985881801

Page Count: 260

Publisher: Gloria Lockhart

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2013

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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