Gal: A True Life

Front Cover
Harcourt Brace, 1994 - Biography & Autobiography - 275 pages
Ruthie Mae Bolton was born January 6, 1961, in the Hungry Neck section of Charleston, South Carolina. At the time, her mother was thirteen; she has never known who her father was. Her mother was the wandering kind, so Ruthie Mae-nicknamed "Gal" by her stepgrandfather-was raised in her grandparents' home. One day Grandmama died as a result of a severe beating by her husband-it occured to no one to call this to the attention of the authorities-and Gal was left in the brutal hands of her granddaddy, who beat her unmercifully as well. Ruthie Mae began to steal things in school and she developed a stutter; she drank and smoked dope. But she stuck resolutely with her education and graduated from high school, which was likely her salvation, for today Ruthie Mae is happily married, with children and a fine job. At last she is at peace-with herself and even with the memory of her grandfather. It is nigh impossible to convey the astonishingly eloquent simplicity of Ruthie Mae's witnessing to her time. Here is an absolutely remarkable document, as touching as it is painful, as ageless as it is timely.

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User Review  - laurensx - LibraryThing

A very painful memoir to read. Sadly, the life survived by Ruth, is all too common amongst our "civilized" society. Told and written with brutal honesty and grit, it was difficult to actually read ... Read full review

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User Review  - OEBooks - LibraryThing

It felt as if I was right in the room listening to Ruthie tell her story. Heartbreaking, horrid, painful memories... my deepest reflection being Ruthie's aversion to watching Roots as Gal, itself ... Read full review


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About the author (1994)

Ruthie M. Bolton is a writer and oral historian. The name is the pseudonym of an African American writer born on January 6, 1961 in Charleston, South Carolina. Bolton graduated from high school despite a difficult childhood. She wrote the details of her life of abuse and neglect and showed it to the novelist, Josephine Humphreys. Humphreys suggested that Bolton tell her story as oral history and helped by transcribing the tapes and writing the introduction to the finished book.

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