I have never read anything as capturing as this collection of essays ever in my life before. It is probably among the books I’ve taken the most time reading because the change and inspiration each page breathed into my being was something I was afraid to lose once it ended.
There are a few books one can admittedly claim have changed their lives. This book I intend to keep for my daughter praying sincerely she will do the same for hers. Inside the pages of this book I found not only ‘Our Mother’s Garden’ but also the garden I am yet to create.
In Alice Walker and her convictions I found a woman I can only dream my children would one day find in me.
The book is a medley of political consciousness and self-awareness. Though set in an American context as it is very much about Walker’s own life experiences, it reveals black women to themselves, reminds them where they’ve been and even dares to challenge them about where they intend to go.
I’ve been labelled a feminist much too many times and hardly ever by women. In growing up it is a title I’ve gladly accepted even when hurled at me as an insult. Through this book I have found that in fact I am a black feminist and it has been a relief to acquire that identity.
What Walker has created in me through this collection of essays is a hunger to know my own black female heroes, who they were and what they stood for. She has also taught me that it is okay to be critical of these women for it is through their mistakes that we evolve and grow. Also the lesson is that there is no shame in praising them and ensuring where I can that they reclaim their place in both history and herstory as well as mystory.
She has also birthed within me a thirst for black female authors throughout the world. I do believe that over the years my bookshelf will cease to be filled with random and sometimes trendy books but more stories about women by women … and at times even men. She has sparked in me a curiosity regarding the placement of black women in literature by black and white, male and female authors worldwide.
At some point while reading this book I believed that in my past life I was Alice Walker for she has lived a life constructed purely from all my fantasies and dreams. I have fallen in love with this woman’s mind and her artistry and sometimes I imagine in another life she has been my own mother. Her convictions and truths ring true to me and the courage to capture even her weakest moments on paper have managed to change the life of another woman in her metamorphosis over three decades later, continents apart.
She must have been thinking of me when she put this collection together. Nothing else makes any other sense.
In her words my passions have been renewed and I have found once more that I have needed to pursue the emancipation of the beautiful black women who at times forget who they’ve been, who they are and who they can truly be because the world would rather stifle them before their actualisation.
While reading this book I found myself vowing to my future children, girls or boys, that when they should go searching for their mother’s gardens, they will find that because she existed, the world is indeed not only better but incredibly beautiful.