And How My Spirit Soars:
Learning to Pack for an Extraordinary Journey

by Sharon Simpson Joseph

Spirit Soars, 2002. ISBN 0967854334.
Reviewed by Paulette Rees-Denis
Posted on 09/18/2002

Nonfiction: Memoir; Nonfiction: Faith/Spirituality/Inspiration; Nonfiction: Cultural/Gender Focus

In her first book, And How My Spirit Soars, Sharon Simpson Joseph shares with us the evolution of her life through her journals, from early childhood to a being a student at Stanford Law School, to her development as a "womanist." As described by Alice Walker, a womanist is instinctively pro-woman, with a strong root in Black women's culture.

Sharon shares stories of exploration and development, growing up as an African American child. She shows us through her eyes as a daughter, a sister, a friend, a student, a lover, and a black woman. The stories read with her age in the telling, so you start with reading a young child's words—humble yet inquisitive, laid open for all to read. We follow her through high school and into college, from her first friendships to her first love. She lends her poetry and her growth as a poet to the pages, and it's lovely to watch her unfold into her own as a woman.

Through all this, Sharon packs a suitcase as a metaphor for the process of living. She uses her experiences to help her pack for the continuation of her life. She advises herself and the reader what is needed for this journey of life and survival—Love, Healing, Tenacity, and finally, Your Voice. She says, "No matter how hard you have to swim against, or with, the tide, pack yourself, your Voice...your song....Yesterday I found my Voice.Today I'm here to shout about it."

You can read more about Sharon on her website.

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