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All the Lost Girls, All the Lost Girls, 0817310479, 0-8173-1047-9, 978-0-8173-1047-9, 9780817310479, , , All the Lost Girls, 081731248X, 0-8173-1248-X, 978-0-8173-1248-0, 9780817312480,

All the Lost Girls
Confessions of a Southern Daughter

Trade Cloth
2000. 328 pp.
Price:  $39.95 s
Quality Paper
2002. 328 pp.
Price:  $29.95 s

Patricia Foster's lyrical yet often painful memoir explores
the life of a white middle-class girl who rew up in rural south Alabama
in the 1950s and 1960s, a time and place that did not tolerate deviation
from traditional gender roles. Her mother raised Foster and her sister
as "honorary boys," girls with the ambition of men but the temperament
of women.

An unhappy, intelligent woman who kept a heartbreaking secret
from everyone close to her, Foster's mother was driven by a repressed rage
that fed her obsession for middle-class respectability.
By the time Foster reached age fifteen, her efforts to
reconcile the contradictory expectations that she be at once ambitious
and restrained had left her nervous and needy inside even while she tried
to cultivate the appearance of the model student, sister, and daughter.
It was only a psychological and physical breakdown that helped her to realize
that she couldn't save her driven, complicated mother and must struggle
instead for both understanding and autonomy.

Patricia Foster is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Iowa. She is editor of Minding the Body: Women Writers on Body and Soul and Sister to Sister: Women Write About the Unbreakable Bond and co-editor of The Healing Circle.


"All the Lost Girls dramatizes the subtle influences of family and culture, and especially of southern culture, on a young woman's psyche. At the same time, the book carries on the southern literary tradition of creating a strong, direct voice that isn't afraid to see the humor of a situation, to artistically sketch a lush landscape, and to depict fascinating rural characters."—Mary Swander, author of Out of This World: A Woman's Life Among the Amish

"The trouble with southern daughters and mothers is that there is precious little confession going on. Ours is a terrain of secrets and deceptions. I love the way Patricia Foster just wades into that dark and murky love-hate that keeps mothers and daughters forever mysterious to each other."—Nanci Kincaid, author of Crossing Blood

2001 Southern Books Competion Award of Merit, sponsored by 

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