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Sweet Mystery, Sweet Mystery, 0817359605, 0-8173-5960-5, 978-0-8173-5960-7, 9780817359607, , , Sweet Mystery, 0817392688, 0-8173-9268-8, 978-0-8173-9268-0, 9780817392680,

Sweet Mystery
A Book of Remembering
Judith Hillman Paterson

Quality Paper
2019. 284 pp.
18 B&W figures
Price:  $24.95 t
E Book
2019. 284 pp.
18 B&W figures
Price:  $24.95 d

An exquisitely written memoir—combining sorrow and joy, anger and forgiveness, suffering and healing—that affirms the resilience and strength that imbue the human spirit

Judith Paterson was just nine years old in 1946 when her mother died of a virulent combination of alcoholism and mental illness at the age of 31. Sweet Mystery: A Book of Remembering is Paterson’s harrowing account of the memories of her mother, told with eloquence and understanding. Set largely in Montgomery, Alabama, the story plays out against a backdrop of relatives troubled almost as much by southern conflicts over race and class as by the fallout from a long family history of drinking, denial, and mental illness.

While rich in the details and flavor of small-town life in the South during the 1940s, Sweet Mystery transcends time and regionalism to evoke universal American themes. Ultimately, it confirms the damaging effects of early trauma on children as well as the innate and familial strengths that enable some children to survive, grow up, and heal.

Originally published in 1996 to critical acclaim in the national media, Sweet Mystery was called “a beautifully written, excruciating collision of form and emotion, joy and pain, willpower and self-examination, control and surrender” by the Washington Post. This edition contains a new afterword written by the author as well as a list of suggested readings.
Judith Hillman Paterson served as professor of English at Auburn University at Montgomery and as a professor of journalism at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism. She has published four books including literary studies of the work of Sir Thomas More and Philip Roth. She lives in her hometown, Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband, Mark Grable.
“A remarkable work . . . tender, excruciating, compelling.”
—Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird
“A brilliant memoir. . . . Sweet Mystery has special appeal for readers who have survived difficult childhoods.”
Boston Globe
“The author deftly evokes both the atmosphere of the small-town South and the dynamics of a troubled family, making this as engrossing as a good Southern novel.”
Publishers Weekly
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