SIGNAL GRACE

A daughter remembers her father as memory combines with love and forgiveness to create a touching debut memoir. 

Yates, now in her early 30s, tells it like it is. Her family split by divorce—which happened when she was 3—and geography, she grew up yearning for connection. She and her father “never managed to be close, as fathers and daughters are supposed to be,” she recalls. “We didn’t giggle together or share little jokes, we didn’t really even see each other that often.” Her parents separately lived in various U.S. cities, and her father’s Army career meant international postings as well. Yates lived with her mother and younger brother, and she called her dad Michael: “When he was gone, I couldn’t think of him as ‘dad’ because it hurt too much to miss him.” Her yearned-for connection intensified when she lived with her father during her senior year at Incarnate Word High School in San Antonio, Texas. After her own brief marriage, while still a student Texas A&M, violently blew up, her father helped her file legal protection orders, but she still felt alone: “I had, quite simply, no idea what constituted a good man.” Despite the chaos—which Yates describes in graceful, readable prose—she began noticing hopeful signs. “There is a name. Catholics call it a ‘signal grace.’ It’s a sign that God’s listening to you and directing you all the time. You see these moments by the grace of God. It indicates that you’re on the right path and that God is helping and guiding you.” Her sign is a shamrock, and after Michael’s death in 2010, unexpected shamrock-sightings comforted her: “I was flooded, over and through, by gratitude and forgiveness; they rinsed away the grime of mistakes and judgment like a baptism, and made me feel radiant in flowing peace.” Cynics might be quick to lump this life story in with the recent glut of early age memoirs, but better than most, this story achingly portrays a family severed by divorce and encourages the healing of hearts. Yates keeps a strict focus on the father-daughter dynamic, and the “signal grace” idea is only brought toward the end, so it shouldn’t deter casual, irreligious readers. A well-crafted, compelling account of how one confused little girl grew up and learned to live with her past by seeing signs of God’s grace.

 

Pub Date: June 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0989223201

Page Count: 216

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2013

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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