We Were Always Free: The Maddens of Culpeper County, Virginia: A 200-Year Family History

May Sarton, Author, T. O. Madden, Author W. W. Norton & Company $21.95 (218p) ISBN 978-0-393-03346-5
Like all of Sarton's journals, this is a testament to the joys of nature from a courageous and loving woman. It is different from the others ( Journal of a Solitude , etc.) in that now, at age 79 and living alone in her house in Maine, she must struggle with frailty and illness that make fierce inroads on her independence. She is so weak that she can no longer hold a pen but keeps up her writing by learning to use a dictaphone. And she has the help of a devoted secretary and numerous friends. Sometimes her pain is too much, but she discards the idea of suicide, thinking that ``one must have one's death . . . not make one's own death.'' And her cats, birds, garden and visitors keep her ecstatically anchored in life. Looking into the heart of a pale yellow daffodil, she is exalted to discover its ``center of emerald green, like a light.'' There is no comfort here for old age, with its daily records of pain, but Sarton's fans will find reassurance that her valiant spirit endures. Photos not seen by PW. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/04/1992
Release date: 05/01/1992
Genre: Nonfiction
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