The thoughtful autobiography of a white lesbian who grew up in Alabama, where she grappled with the complexities of the pre-civil-rights era and her own emerging sexuality. McNaron (Women's Studies and English/Univ. of Minnesota) offers some intriguing insights into the social climate of the 1950's South. She writes of a beloved father who called her ""Son"" until she was six; of a protective mother who scolded her severely--without explaining why--when McNaron drank from a ""Colored"" water fountain; and of a family maid who ate from dishes kept separate from the family's. McNaron began college with the first black woman to attend the Univ. of Alabama (townspeople forced the woman to drop out after one semester), witnessed brutal police-led attacks on African-Americans picnicking in a public park, and had her first sexual relationship while a teacher at a girls' boarding school. She headed north in the early 1960's to embark on a career as a graduate student and professor, and though her account of her experiences during those years--which includes her ""coming out"" and her battle with alcoholism--is interesting, it lacks the compelling nature of her earlier narrative. Throughout, too, there are unsatisfying moments when remembrances seem truncated, less detailed than they might have been. Thin in spots, but, still, an engrossing and sensitive memoir that moves along at the swift pace of a well-written novel.