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Reviewed by Gisela Dixon for Readers' Favorite
It Was What It Was: My Memoir by Diane Haley Toney is a memoir of growing up in the idyllic post-war era of the American South during the 1950s. It Was What It Was begins without much of a preamble and jumps into the beginning of the author's life story of growing up in Lavonia, Georgia. The story is mostly written in a sequential manner, although it does jump around a bit at times, and covers the years of growing up with family and community, the background and histories of various family members and their anecdotes, ways and means in which people made their living in those days post-World War II when the economy was starting to stabilize, and many more stories revolving around cotton, bootleggers, segregation, religion, community, etc.
It Was What It Was is an interesting memoir about how life used to be over 50 years ago and the values and ways of people who lived in those times. Diane writes in a straightforward, candid manner and most of the family stories especially are told well from her point of view. I liked the direct and, at times, almost artless style of writing which is well suited for a memoir of this type. Although the topic of segregation and discrimination has been briefly touched upon here and there, I did wish there was more material presented regarding this equally important part of history. It would have been of historical value and interest if we had gotten to see the perspective of people of those times in more depth and detail regarding this issue. Still, overall, I found the book to be a short and interesting read on the life and times of days long ago.