Memoirs of a Brown-Skin Gyal
by Sandra Crough


PublishAmerica, 2002. ISBN 159286032X.
Reviewed by Judith Helburn
Posted on 04/29/2003

Nonfiction: Memoir; Nonfiction: Cultural/Gender Focus

Sandra Crough, in her first work, writes of her childhood and young adulthood in a pleasing series of short stories. Using an effective form of writing, she writes her feelings in italics and leaves this reader wishing for more. Like Maya Angelou, Crouch's mother deserts her and she is raised by her grandmother. As much as love between the two is evident, the pain of desertion breaks through all of the stories.

When your mother gives you away when you are an infant, you get no such sympathy... They look at you with suspicion and ask aloud, "But why shee Mama give shee whey?" They walk away shaking their heads.
The author is not entirely successful in her difficult task of writing much of her story in a childlike voice. The present mature woman keeps adding her opinion. Perhaps a third style of type would have helped. That said, Crough successfully brings us into her Hondurian culture, exposing us not only to the people but the land as well. The first chapters are full of charming and revealing tales.

It seems that this short book may have been written at two different times. From Chapter 6 (Hattie) on, much of the story has a fine flow. "Hattie" is about the author's family's frightening experience during Hurricane Hattie's rampage across what is now Belize.

If Sandra Crough continues to write, libraries should pay attention and consider adding her work to their collection. She covers a cultural area very under-represented.

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