AUTHOR: Michele Norris
Vintage ISBN: 978-0-307-47527-5 $14.95

Michele Norris’s book, The Grace of Silence: A Family Memoir, provides insight into the lives of her remarkable family. It has been said that in order to know where one is going one has to know where they came from. Even though the author knew her family well, it is what she didn’t know about them that is the basic foundation of the book. After her grandmother had died, she learns that her grandmother had worked for Quaker Oats as a “traveling Aunt Jemima” during the 1940’s and part of the 1950’s. Norris writes “My grandmother’s work created a complex legacy for her heirs”. It is a legacy worth reading about. After her father’s death she is told that he was shot by a white policeman after he returned home to Birmingham, Alabama after serving in WW II. Her commitment to uncovering answers to her questions about the circumstances, as well as her tenacity, is unmistakable. The quest to complete her family history is filled with meaningful and valuable experiences. Research shows her father’s history is intertwined with the events in Birmingham during the same period. Birmingham’s history is well documented and the facts are appalling. Norris attention to detail is evident in every page.
There are reasons the author’s grandmother and father didn’t tell her everything and their reasons remain their own. However, the search for these reasons led to this: “There is grace in silence, and power to be had from listening to that which, more often than not, was left unsaid”.
I found this to be a moving, powerful and an important book.

I received this book at no charge through Goodreads First Reads.


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