A tender memoir of love and redemption.
Born during the civil rights movement to Black Panther Party parents, Williams (Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan, 2005) grew up in a tough neighborhood of Oakland, Calif., where "the world was caught up in a swirling storm of violence, revolutionary zeal, sexual freedom, and creative expression." Her father was in and out of prison, her mother struggled with alcoholism, and her older sister became a prostitute, so when Williams was raped, she felt it was almost destiny, that she "had been subtly groomed to be a victim all [her] life. . .I believe I experienced a feeling almost of relief, that this unavoidable event had finally caught up with me." Then actress and activist Jane Fonda stepped in and gave the bright 16-year-old girl a new life. And for 30 years, Williams avoided looking backward to her birth mother and rough beginnings. She worked in Morocco, Tanzania, Antarctica and Alaska. She hiked the Appalachian Trail and mingled on movie sets with Fonda's co-workers. And yet, she never felt quite at peace, as she was still full of repressed anger over the neglect and abuse she received as a child. She struggled "to keep the beast caged" and writes of her feelings in her 40s, "I was an emotional chimera of a two-year-old and a sulking teenager, extremely sensitive to even the most benign criticism or perceived insult." Her anger went outward toward everyone, including Fonda, who had provided so much for Williams. However, Williams' anger could only last so long before she realized she needed to change. In heartwarming prose, the author explains how she eventually reunited with her siblings, their children and finally her birth mother.
A compassionate tale of soul-searching and family love.