Divine daughters : liberating the power and passion of women's voices /
Rachel L. Bagby.
1st ed.
San Francisco : HarperSanFrancisco, c1999.
279 p. ; 20 cm.
0062514261 (paper)
More Details
San Francisco : HarperSanFrancisco, c1999.
0062514261 (paper)
catalogue key
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 1999-04-05:
The traumas at the heart of vocalist and performing artist Bagby's narrative of her spiritual journey in search of her true voice are real enough: race and gender discrimination, family alcoholism and drug addiction, rape, homelessness, miscarriage and spiritual bankruptcy. However, Bagby's elliptical style and the lack of specific details will leave readers wondering what exactly happened to her. In 1977, she entered Stanford Law School, "one of fifteen women and five Blacks in a class of 139" who were told they were "destined to rule the country if not the world." Shifting precipitously (using a technique she calls "fast-forward") to New Year's Eve 1981, Bagby tells of taking refuge in her parents' house. Even in a deliberately unconventional memoir like this one, the failure to make clear what happened between these two events is a major flaw. Society's gender conventions and her father's "sexism/chauvinism" become conflated with references to a rape and her dependencies on a white man and marijuana, which may or may not have led to her homelessness, which isn't clearly explained either. Along the way, Bagby married, but only in the last pages does she reveal that the partnership has lasted 15 years. Bagby devotes a significant portion of the book to the healing properties of music, singing and nature, as well as to passages of social commentary and lyrics, but her free-form prose lacks the logic of jazz. She characterizes her first attempt at improvisational singing in a master class with musician Bobby McFerrin as "lack[ing] an audible center... too fragmented to be satisfying"; the same can be said of this memoir. Author tour. (May)
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, April 1999
Kirkus Reviews, May 1999
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