Title: Her Name Was Bitter: A Memoir
Author: Mara D. Johnson
Category: Coming of Age/ Autobiography
Length: 259 pages
My rating: 10/10
*************DISCLAIMER: This book is not for the faint of heart, nor is this review. It deals with many different topics that are quite controversial. **************
This is one that I stumbled upon by accident, but it was definitely considered a good accident.
This is the story of Mara. She’s everything a little girl is supposed to be. A daughter, a sister, a niece, a cousin, a grandchild. However, she is only those things in title. The family around her is oblivious to the things she goes through. A mother who has abandoned her, a father that is in and out of abusive relationships and prison, and an extended family who only uses her as a servant, unless one member of the family is molesting her. She faces her first pregnancy at 13, and forced to hide her pregnancy by the family, and put the baby up for adoption. As she grows up, things in life seem slated against her, one trouble after another befall her. Multiple pregnancies, abortions, drugs, alcohol all lead to her destruction. However, like a Phoenix, through every fire, she rises. She goes from a child who has been molested and has no direction in life or even where she’ll live the next week, to an entrepreneur, to a successful business woman, to the woman she is today. It shows that nearly anything can be overcome, and that in the end, persistence pays off. It also teaches there will be frogs to kiss before the prince arrives, and many of them can be disgusting.
This book was a real eye-opener for me. I have not been gifted with a life of pleasure and smooth sailing, but compared to this young woman, it changed my outlook. There’s always someone who has it worse than I do. I have had it quite easy compared to Mrs. Johnson. I had never even seen this closely into a situation of that nature, but reading this, I felt her pain. The words she poured out were the equivalent of blood and tears, though from the memoir, she’s shed enough of them already. I salute this woman for being strong, persistent, and respectable.
Memorable quotes – “Sometimes there is no wrong or right in feelings. You just feel the way you feel. You may not even like how you feel, but it doesn’t change that you feel that way.”
“I did not respect or listen to what people had to say, mostly because the only thing that was universal in humanity was imperfection.”