Quilt of Souls

Non-Fiction - Memoir
192 Pages
Reviewed on 11/11/2015
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Author Biography

Ms. Lawson was born in Detroit, Michigan, however at the age of four, she was sent to tiny Livingston, Alabama to be raised by her Grandmother Lula Horn (1883-1986).
After graduating from High School, Ms. Lawson joined the United States Air Force as A WAF (Women’s Air Force) and served as one of the first female B-52 mechanics. She served one tour in the Air Force and left the service in 1979. She used her military educational benefits to attend the University of Maryland, receiving a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Sociology and Social Work. She spent nearly twenty years working as a counselor for incarcerated youth, women who were victims of domestic violence, and with youth and adults suffering from alcohol/substance abuse. Following a seventeen year break; in 2002, Ms. Lawson returned to the military, retiring from the U.S Army in 2013.
Ms. Lawson is Author of the memoir Quilt of Souls, a book that is taking social media by storm. She is married with two sons and five Granddaughters and currently resides in Florida.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Quilt of Souls is a memoir written by Phyllis Lawson. The author was just four years old when she was sent to live with her grandparents in Livingston, Alabama. She had no idea what was happening. One minute, her older sister was attempting to put the ribbons she always despised in her hair; the next, she was in the back seat of a car with two huge men sitting on either side of her and more strange adults in the front seat. It was a long trip from Detroit, where she had always lived, and the trip seemed to go on forever. When they finally got to Livingston, they turned onto a dirt road that went on and on, and stopped in front of a farm house. Lawson stepped out onto the soft Alabama sand and wondered where she was -- then her grandmother Lula came out and looked at her with those gray-blue eyes, and gave her a hug, and somehow she knew it was all going to be all right.

I cannot recommend Phyllis Lawson’s memoir, Quilt of Souls, highly enough. This beautifully written story is one of the most profound and memorable literary works that I've had the privilege of reading in an awfully long time. I loved hearing Grandma Lula’s stories as she and her granddaughter worked on the quilts, and marvelled at the idyllic life the three of them had for those wonderful and formative years while Lawson was being raised by her grandparents. The stories -- oh, the stories -- they are simply marvelous! And not just those momentous stories of departed family and friends told by Grandma Lula to her granddaughter as she lovingly fingers pieces of fabric, which are, in themselves, living history and oh, so very precious. But also those told by the author herself -- stories that are threaded so neatly in along with her grandmother’s historical tapestry. Those tales of her listening in on her grandmother, Miss Honey Bee and the other formidable women of their circle, her remembrances of her grandma walking her to school in the mornings, and the laughter and trips into town she shared with her Grandpa Edgar are all marvelous.

Lawson calls her grandmother a gifted storyteller and, indeed, this work proves that the gift has been passed on and still thrives. What a memorable read this is! Quilt of Souls had me entranced as I read. I forgot the everyday world and lived for a while on that farm surrounded by woods and in the company of some unforgettable people. This moving and very impressive memoir is most highly recommended.

Leslie Caplan

Excellent review of a deeply profound and epic book. So beautifully written, this is a book you cannot put down. It will make you laugh, cry, get angry, and then fill with hope from the depth of resilience and love that is woven throughout the whole story. This book is a classic. It should be made into a movie. It should be required reading in schools. It is a part of our history that was swept under the rug, brought forth by an amazing author who seamlessly threaded together stories that will stay with you long after the book is closed.

Gloria Aguayo

"Quilt of Souls" was so engrossing that I couldn't stop reading until well past my usual bed time! The review by Jack Magnus is well-deserved, and is an excellent summary of the book.