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October 31, 2013

“Glow”

by Anne Paddock

It is October 31. Halloween. I have long lost my love of masks and phantoms.

So says, 26-year old Amelia  “Mia” J. McGee, a woman of Cherokee and Scotch-Irish descent, and a writer for the NAACP and WEB in Washington, DC who has returned to Hopewell County, Georgia to find her missing 11-year old daughter, E.F. “Ella” McGee. Three days prior a rock had been thrown through the McGee’s window with a note that said “The next one won’t be a rock.” Fearing for her daughter’s life, Mia put Ella on a bus to Georgia and arranges for her brother, Buddy to pick up the child at the bus station. But when Ella doesn’t make it, Mia decides to vacate her plans to march in the largest picket in Washington, D.C.’s history on October 31, 1941 and return to her childhood home to find the little girl she named after Elizabeth Freeman, “the great suffragist and speaker.”

Written by Jessica Maria Tuccelli, Glow is the saga of an American family – the Solomon B. Bounds family. 47-year old Reverend Solomon Bounds from North Carolina packed up his family and worldly belongings including his slaves – in the Autumn of 1836 and moved to Hopewell County, Georgia to claim a large plot of land he won in a land lottery; land that had been confiscated from the Native American Indians by the State of Georgia. Although married to Gay who birthed two of his children, the Reverend also carried on a long-term love affair and fathered three children with one of his slaves, Lora Lee.

9780143122920_large_GlowThrough the generations over the next 100 years, the racial lines become blurred among the African-American and the American Indian, but what never changes or falters is the supremacy of the white male. Told through five different sets of eyes of the extended Bounds family, Glow is the story of one family in Hopewell County where “everybody knew everybody else’s family lore, and if you opened the closet and allowed the bones to settle, it was clear we were all linked,: by a shared history or by shared blood, whether we admitted to it or not,whether we denied it or not, whether we liked it or not.”

Often compared to The Help by Kathryn Stockett, Glow reminds me more of Roots by Alex Haley. In the beginning of the book, a family tree provides the blood lines of the Bounds family which I initially referred to in the early chapters. What quickly becomes clear is that knowing the lineage isn’t nearly as important as recognizing the decisions made by younger generations have been greatly influenced by the experiences of the previous generations….for a family cannot help but be influenced by racism, hate, disrespect, chauvinism, and the injustices inflicted upon them:

They spread their dens across countryside and city alike, but they eventually died out. Now they had risen again, expanding their roster of hate to include not only colored folks but also anyone who wasn’t born in the United States, anyone who didn’t worship the way they did. She said it was not only our county-it was nationwide. It was a secret that wasn’t. It was family men, It was police officers, teachers, barbers, factory workers, mechanics electricians, and grocers. Judges, mayors, governors, and senators. It was over two million members strong. It was the presidential campaign. It was the silence of Calvin Coolidge.

In most societies, we gain information through our senses which is important but for anyone who has woken up with a start knowing that something is wrong, or felt that their child, spouse, or loved one is trying to get a hold of them only to have the phone ring a minute later, or has this sinking feeling that something bad is about to happen, there is no known sense to explain the how and why of such phenomena.  Clairvoyance or extra sensory perception is a theme that runs through Glow in that many of the women in the story know they possess a special gift that gives them insight and knowledge yet they are powerless to change anything…except how they respond and move forward. Some give up and die, others retreat, some fight back and pay a hefty price and still others refuse to accept the status quo and painstakingly plot their moves inching their way forward.

Amelia J. McGee is determined to have the man she loves, mother the child she begot, and make the world more just even after her grandmother told that “finding justice was as tough as putting socks on a rooster” because “nothing is what it seems……not at first sight.”

To purchase the book or for more information on Glow and Jessica Maria Tuccelli, go to the author’s website:  www.jessicamariatuccelli.com

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