A young black woman’s searing debut memoir about growing up poor and facing the challenges of both physical and emotional hunger.
Cannady knew what it was like to be hungry even before she was born: “Food was a scarcity in my Momma’s womb, my first home.” Her mother, Lois, was still a teenager when the author was born and had already experienced rape at the hands of her first baby’s father. Cannady’s father, Carl, was the second man in Lois’ life, and until Lois gave birth, he seemed to offer hope for a brighter future. But the longer the author’s mother stayed with him, the more abusive and parasitic he became, hitting Lois and feeding off the little money she received from welfare. The first significant male figure to enter Cannady's life after Carl was Pee Wee, who helped make the family’s hunger disappear. But his contributions to the household came at a cost. Until Pee Wee was arrested for pedophilia, he sexually abused Cannady and threatened to kill Lois if Cannady ever told her the truth. Other men entered and left the family’s life and brought temporary security and nourishment with them. Yet inevitably, they all became unreliable and/or violent. This instability, combined with Cannady’s early experience with sexual victimization, led her into the arms of boys and men who were just as damaged as she was. However, the great tragedy was that these boyfriends genuinely wanted to care for Cannady before they succumbed to their own brutal conditioning. Throughout this at-times painful narrative, the author also celebrates the strength of her bonds among the members of her family and especially with her mother. These bonds offered her the sustenance she needed to become a woman whose hunger to escape the cycle of abuse eventually trumped dysfunction and chaos and put her on a road to a better life.
A bold, honest, and courageous memoir.