"Like all good writers, Patricia Foster knows that the best stories are those we carry around inside us. Her art is to hold moments of everyday experience—as daughter, woman, lover, wife; as child at home and as adult returning to childhood territory—up to the light and see what insights can be gleaned from them."
—Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold's Ghost
The book's three sections each convey a stage of Foster's journey--still ongoing--toward new levels of insight and maturity. "Inside the Girls' Room" takes us back to Foster's life in the rural South from the 1950s through the early 1970s. Here she reveals the mixed messages and stereotypes of southern womanhood by which she was raised-and from which she fled. With adulthood, Foster moves to "Inside the Writing Room," a place dotted with discoveries about autobiography as a path to creative expression and inner coherence. Finally, at the place in her life Foster calls "Inside My Skin," autobiography helps her to explore and to claim her cultural identity. Returning to her native South, she holds a writing workshop for a group composed mostly of middle-aged black women, visits a beloved maid from her childhood, and returns to old haunts as a witness to her concerns about race and class.
This gathering of lyrical essays explores the intelligent, intuitive heart of a woman struggling to claim both her identity and her place in the world.
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