Tuesday, March 13, 2012

"Unafraid of the Dark" By: Rosemary Bray Review

"Unafraid of the Dark" 
By: Rosemary Bray

Synopsis from Amazon.com:
     In her deeply affecting, vividly written memoir, Rosemary L. Bray describes with remarkable frankness growing up poor in Chicago in the 1960s, and her childhood shaped by welfare, the Roman Catholic Church, and the civil rights movement. 
   Bray writes poignantly of her lasting dread of the cold and the dark that characterized her years of poverty; of her mother's extraordinary strength and resourcefulness; and of the system that miraculously enabled her mother to scrape together enough to keep the children fed and clothed. Bray's parents, held together by their ambitions for their children and painfully divided by their poverty, punctuate young Rosemary's nights with their violent fights and define her days with their struggles. 
      This powerful, ultimately inspiring book is a moving testimony of the history Bray overcame, and the racial obstacles she continues to see in her children's way.

My Thoughts:
     "Unafraid of the Dark" is a February Book Club selection for one of the book groups I belong to. Published in 1999, Bray tells her backstory in a world of a forgotten era in an area that doesn't really exist anymore. I found the story interesting but didn't think the memoir was told in the best format.
     "Unafraid of the Dark" is one of those books that you read and you set it down...you shake your head, pick it up again and then put it back down. My bookgroup picked this book and we were pretty evenly split on whether we enjoyed it or not. It's one of the most different books I read, and while the book material was interesting I honestly doubt I would recommend the book to anyone else.
      The first full length nonfiction title from Rosemary Bray, "Unafraid of the Dark" tells the story of the author during her childhood in Chicago, Illinois. Her Father is abusive and her Mother is at times strong while still allowing her husband to beat her and her children. As you read, you can feel the complicated relationship she shared with her parents and its hard not to see the situations in black and white.
     Rosemary's family lived on welfare for her childhood, and this probably caused the most contention within my bookgroup. No one minded that they lived on welfare if they needed it, but most of the people had a problem with HOW they got it. Rosemary's Mother lied to the government officials and acted as if Rosemary's father didn't live with them. There is no doubt in my mind her Father wouldn't have provided for htem, but the dishonesty bothered myself and many of the women who discussed this book.
      "Unafraid of the Dark" discusses those topics that are taboo. She talks blatantly about religion, racism, abuse which was honestly very interesting, I just found myself disagreeing with her on some of the causes of problems in her life. In different parts she was repetitious and other parts she seemed almost vague on what was occuring. See, what I mean about being split? I'm glad I read it just to get another perspective on life in Chicago during the Civil Rights movement, but felt let down a bit as well.

Book Details
Publisher: Anchor
Date of Publication: March 16, 1999
# of Pages: 304
ISBN: 978-0385494755

1 comment:

  1. overall, this story was great and very inspiring and heartfelt. but i have to say, there were some parts in the book that were boring and i just wanted to stop reading the book.