Southern Scribe
    our culture of storytelling

 

 Memoir Review    

 

 

Change Me Into Zeus's Daughter
By Barbara Robinette Moss
Scribner, 2001
Trade paper, $14.00 (320 pages)
ISBN: 0743202198
 
 
 

In 1996, Barbara Robinette Moss won the Gold Medal for Personal Essay in the William Faulkner Writing Contest. Her essay became the first chapter of Change Me into Zeusís Daughter, a coming of age memoir that was compared to both Rick Bragg's All Over But the Shoutiní and Frank McCourt's Angelaís Ashes. Ironically, Bragg and Moss grew up near one another in the Oxford-Anniston-Jacksonville area of Alabama. 

Moss, one of eight children, grew up in the 1960s south. Her father, an alcoholic, was abusive toward her mother as well as Moss and her siblings. Her mother, Dorris, a former marine, "seemed to crave him as much as he craved alcohol." She never quite had the courage to leave. 

The children learned to cope as best they could with the Christmas gifts exchanged for alcohol, constant moves, and their father's punishments for real and imagined misbehavior. 

Young Barbara fell in love with beauty. She longed to be an artist. Despite the poverty that left her face disfigured by malnutrition, she persevered, undergoing numerous surgeries. 

Like her mother, she married an abusive man. Unlike her mother, she found the courage to leave, taking her young son with her. 

Heart-rending and life affirming -- Change Me into Zeusís Daughter is a memoir about transformation -- both physical and emotional.

 

Pam Kingsbury
Southern Scribe Reviews
 

© 2004, Southern Scribe Reviews, All Rights Reserved