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January 16, 2016

SEARCHING FOR NANNIE B. by Nancy Owen Nelson

A Memoir
Nancy Owen Nelson
Cover Design by Jennifer Jones

 Product Details

(from Amazon)

How would you be affected if your mother died giving you life? And how would such a loss affect your children? These questions are the foundation of many issues raised by the author in her search for the missing pieces of a grandmother who in 1905 died giving the author’s mother life. It was a tragedy that seemed to affect multiple generations, the voids in identity and ill-spent guilt flowing from the stream of blood that kept mother from daughter, and then from granddaughter. But it was a search well-spent.

The Reverend Roger Mohr, First Unitarian Universalist Church of Detroit, may have said it best. “Often the tapestry of family history does not seem to offer us the sort of clarity about who we have become, and why. And sometimes the narrative tells us a story about ourselves that we do not wish to accept.”
Nancy Owen Nelson’s search resulted in raising more questions about herself, even as it answered questions about her mysterious grandmother. Nonetheless, in the end her journey toward discovery was one of startling self-awareness and connection. No matter whether you feel connected or lost in family, you will be unable to avoid the heartfelt pleasure and pain that comes from the author’s brave attempt to connect three generations of Southern women.

  • Paperback: 154 pages
  • Publisher: Ardent Writer Press, LLC, The; 1st Edition edition (May 26, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1938667379
  • ISBN-13: 978-1938667374
Nancy Owen NelsonNancy Owen Nelson was raised in a military family who visited their home state of Alabama yearly. Her father retired to Hartselle, Alabama in 1960. She has published articles in several academic journals and anthologies. She is co-editor of The Selected Letters of Frederick Manfred: 1932-1954 (University of Nebraska Press, 1989) and editor of Private Voices, Public Lives: Women Speak on the Literary Life (1995, University of North Texas Press) and The Lizard Speaks: Essays on the Writings of Frederick Manfred (the Center for Western Studies, 1998). She has a published poetry in the What Wildness is This? (University of Texas Press, March 2007) as well as in the South Dakota Review and Graffiti Rag and has creative nonfiction pieces in Mom’s Writing Literary Journal (Fall, 2008), Lalitamba Journal, and Roll (Telling Our Stories Press, 2013). She is currently teaching writing in several colleges and conducts a memoir workshop for Springfield Arts (a Detroit literary/music organization).
As in most military families, you move and leave places and friends behind more than not.  This is what life was like for a military family's youngest daughter.   She was born in Alabama. This is the author's memoir.  She was very close to her mother, Nannie B. Chandler Nelson. When Nancy was only three her mother sat her down and told her that the grandmother she had always known, was not really her grandmother.  The real grandmother died in childbirth.  Nancy didn't know how to handle this news so she kept it inside for fifty years, living day to day with the same hurt that her mother had died with.

 Nancy started doing a little genealogy on  She had questions.  She went to Alabama more than once to look for historical records, but only finding a record of  her grandmother's burial Her grandmother's name was even misspelled on her headstone.  Kind of strange that nothing could be found about her grandmother?  I've found this happens in families.  They go through the years never speaking of some relatives for unknown reasons.  Just like in this memoir, the mother's name was never mentioned after her father remarried.  Memoirs are very exciting for the person writing them, but I've found very few that really gather my interest.  Usually they are so personal that outsiders don't find any connection. There have been a few that I connected with.  This book is one I connected somewhat with all the unanswered questions and the unspoken words and names.

The author was determined to right the wrongs and find some peace.  She did that by erecting a statute for both Nannie B's... sharing their lives with the readers.  Is the past ever really settled? When questions aren't answered, NO.  If you like memoirs, this one tries to connect three women and their Alabama roots.

I received a complimentary copy of SEARCHING FOR NANNIE B. from the author, Nancy Owen Nelson for my unbiased review. No other compensation took place.

I would give this book 4  STARS.


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