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“Powerful! A compelling read [that] beautifully delivers a dose of novelistic intimacy.”

- T. C. Boyle, author of When the Killing’s Done



In 1982, Barbara Williams Lewis became a thirty-seven year old runaway. She moved to Los Angeles with her three children. Born black and poor in Wilson, North Carolina, Lewis chronicles the events of her life that led to her self-imposed exile and her struggles to go beyond it. She tells her story with honesty, humor and raw emotion. She speaks freely of her mistakes and her political views about money, religion, rape, incest, corruption and domestic violence, and she shows her ability to triumph over poverty, homelessness and pain. Lewis has a captivating voice that lures you into the work and forces you to become an active participant in the development of her story. 




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"Dr. Lewis is empowering. She captures the raw horrors of abuse both personally and socially. I could not stop reading."

- Kasey Guerrero, former student


"In December of last year I swallowed some pills and I died. EMS broke down my door and they resuscitated me. When I regained consciousness, I was angry. I really wanted to die. Because I was not remorseful, I was placed in a mental institution where I remained for several weeks under strict surveillance. After reading this book, I realized that even I could survive the darkness and, perhaps, help someone else."

- Anonymous