Charles M. Blow's mother was a fiercely driven woman with five sons, brass knuckles in her glove box, and a job plucking poultry at a factory near their town in segregated Louisiana, where slavery's legacy felt close. When her philandering husband finally pushed her over the edge, she fired a pistol at his fleeing back, missing every shot, thanks to "love that blurred her vision and bent the barrel." Charles was the baby of the family, fiercely attached to his "do-right" mother. Until one day that divided his life into Before and After - the day an older cousin took advantage of the young boy. The story of how Charles escaped that world to become one of America's most innovative and respected journalists is a searing, redemptive journey that works its way into the deepest chambers of the heart.
"[An] exquisite memoir . . . Delicately wrought and arresting in its language, this slender volume covers a great deal of emotional terrain-much of it fraught, most of it arduous, and all of it worth the trip." -New York Times.