cover image Somebody’s Daughter: A Memoir

Somebody’s Daughter: A Memoir

Ashley C. Ford. Flatiron, $27.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-250-30597-8

Journalist Ford debuts with a blistering yet tender account of growing up with an incarcerated father. She retraces her childhood in 1990s Fort Wayne, Ind., where she lived in a family anchored by her weary mother, whose anger bubbled over frequently, and a judgmental but loving grandmother. Felt throughout is the shadowy presence of her father, who was serving a 24-year sentence for rape. The moving narrative unfolds with tales of childhood misadventures with her younger brother, frequent library visits, and days spent anywhere but home: “I told myself being away was the only way we were going to make it out.” Ford writes vividly of having to weather her mother’s rage (which “drained the light from her eyes”) and rotating cast of boyfriends, while navigating her own sense of shame and abandonment as a teenager fighting to be “loved ferociously and completely” in a series of painful relationships. Though she rarely visited her father in prison, he wrote to her often, and “his letters were clues to where I’d come from.” When they finally reconnected before his release, Ford describes their tearful reunion and reconciliation with devastating clarity. “Somewhere, in the center of it all, was my father’s favorite girl.” This remarkable, heart-wrenching story of loss, hardship, and self-acceptance astounds. (June)