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Not for Everyday Use: A Memoir

Ratings:
256 pages4 hours

Summary

The author explores her mother’s marriage—and fourteen pregnancies—in this “powerful memoir” (Ebony).
 
One of Oprah.com’s Best Memoirs of the Year
Winner of the 2015 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in Nonfiction
 
Tracing the four days between the moment she gets the dreaded call and the burial of her mother, Elizabeth Nunez tells of her lifelong struggle to cope with her parents’ ambitions for their children—and her mother’s seemingly unbreakable conviction that displays of affection are not for everyday use. Yet Nunez sympathizes with her parents, whose happiness is constrained by the oppressive strictures of colonialism; by the Catholic Church’s prohibition of artificial birth control which her mother obeys, terrified by the threat of eternal damnation (her mother gets pregnant fourteen times: nine live births and five miscarriages which almost kill her); and by the complexities of skin color in Caribbean society.
 
Through it all, a fierce love holds this family together, and helps carry Nunez through her grief, in this “intriguing [and] courageous memoir” (Kirkus Reviews).
 
“Nunez ponders the cultural, racial, familial, social, and personal experiences that led to what she ultimately understands was a deeply loving union between her parents. A beautifully written exploration of the complexities of marriage and family life.” —Booklist

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