Looking for Atlanta

Marilyn Dorn Staats, Author
Marilyn Dorn Staats, Author University of Georgia Press $19.95 (217p) ISBN 978-0-8203-1470-9
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-446-36574-1
Paperback - 232 pages - 978-0-8203-2120-2
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This superior first effort brings a fresh voice to a much-studied subject, a woman struggling to redefine herself in a changing society. Raised to be a true Southern lady and to believe in all the region's traditions, Margaret Hunter Bridges finds as she reaches middle age that the world she knew has disappeared. Atlanta's mansions are being razed in favor of gleaming planned communities, her husband has left her for a young woman, her son dyes his hair several different colors and her much-loved daughter died in a freak accident. The novel begins and ends on April 17, 1981, when Margaret sits with a journal on the roof of her best friend's house, joined by her yard man. From there, her memories carry the reader through different eras and events, including her childhood and marriage, in a nonchronological narrative whose occasionally confusing structure is the novel's only major weakness. The story's emotional impact is consistently strong, as Margaret's first-person account mingles self-denial, compassion, wit and pain to show a woman attempting to come to terms with a life that is much tougher than anyone told her it would be. (Oct.)
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