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Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite
Southern Patchwork Quilt is a combined work of prose, poetry, fact and fiction, written by Phyllis F. McManus. With an autobiographical beginning, Phyllis tells of how money was hard to come by in the 1950s. A child’s new dress meant blistered fingers, as the parents needed to pick fruit to earn enough money for such a luxury. Growing up on a farm meant hard work, with each family member sharing daily chores of feeding the animals, collecting eggs, milk and more. Phyllis then goes on to tell the story of a young girl having been sexually abused by her neighbor, before blocking out all memories until she witnesses another young girl walking into the same fate – and whose actions land her in prison. Prose and poetry follow, as well as some flash fiction. With all the pieces of the book layered in their perfect place, it truly does transform into that of a patchwork quilt.
Some of the tales which Phyllis F. McManus has written about in Southern Patchwork Quilt hit quite close to home. Many experiences shared are extremely difficult to take in or discuss, and the courage shown by Phyllis in sharing such heartbreak is immense. Having faced sexual abuse from two people that I was meant to be safest around, I could most definitely relate to the pain, fear and shame discussed in ‘Silence is Golden.’ A young child being threatened, whether the threat be towards the child themselves or somebody they love, is a torture that they can never recover from. The prose and poetry in the pages following was imaginative and clever, with my favorite poem being about the love of one’s son. A bond between mother and child is incredibly precious, and I could not help but smile at the words as I read. With so many of life’s lessons to be learned within these pages, I could not help but enjoy Southern Patchwork Quilt, and recommend it wholeheartedly to those over the age of 15 years who are not afraid to face tales of hardship, illness, sexual abuse, justice, happy endings and more.