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HOPEFULLY BEAUTIFUL EXCERPT
I peeked around the corner at Momma who sat at the kitchen table with her brow crumpled;
yet her eyes showed nothing. Grandma Dot continued to yell as she stomped out the back
door, I turned and hurried back to the room.
Momma soon appeared in the doorway and I froze in place! I felt weak like my body didn’t
want to work anymore. She walked heavily into the room as my ears pounded! It was hard
to breathe. Momma snatched up clothes that Grandma Dot had washed for us that were
sitting on the floor in a basket by the ironing board and started ironing. “I can’t never do
nothing!” she mumbled as she looked over angrily at me; I looked down at the floor. “Ya’ll
get on my nerves!” Momma said.
Momma was getting angrier with every mumble as she shook the ironing board back and forth.
“I wish ya’ll had never been born!” “Ya’ll wersome ass” she growled. “I hate this” she said as
she banged the iron up and down on the ironing board!
Sand who was sitting on the floor started to cry! Momma’s head whipped in her direction as her hands bawled into fists at her sides… “Shut up” she yelled! Sand jumped and cried louder! “Please stop crying”, I thought to myself as Momma started pacing back and forth in the room talking to herself! She walked past me and then walked back in front of me and stopped with her back to me!
She moved forward like she was walking away, but I saw her arm swing forward as she leaned into her right hip! Before I could duck out of the way, she swung her arm backwards with all her might; and hit me directly in the side of my forehead with her bawled-up sideways fist! I was stunned as I hit the floor! Momma never looked back at me and continued to pace.
As I lay there, I watched from an angled view from the floor, as Momma picked up the iron from the ironing board, snatched the cord from the wall, bent down and grabbed Sand by the ankle! Sand tussled and cried out as Momma pulled her leg. “Shut up” she growled as she pressed the iron to Sand’s inside leg! Sand let out a howling scream like I had never heard before. Momma removed the iron and sat it to the side on the floor. She came over and picked me up from the floor and placed me on the bed, as Sand lay screaming on the floor. Momma then went and stood over Sand briefly watching her and as she bent over to pick Sand up, I heard Grandma Dot.
“What’s wrong!” grandma was yelling as I heard her feet running into the room. “Lord Have Mercy!” she cried out, as she came into the room and saw Sand on the floor. Sand’s little leg had pink and red meat showing with puss pooling on the top; her skin was stuck to the iron!
“What happened?” Grandma Dot asked as she picked Sand up off the floor; grandma’s looking at me, but my mouth will not work and my body won’t move, I just lay there looking. Momma looked at me and started crying, saying “Sand pulled the iron down when I wasn’t looking...“
Gigi Amateau, Author
"Your book made me laugh, cry, dance and praise!"
"A girl learns how much grit and grace it takes to make it out of poverty in this debut memoir.
...Overall, the memoir is unrelenting in its intensity... But even more remarkable is Moore’s approach to describing her traumas, which is laudably unsentimental, unflinchingly realistic, and even... witty. Despite the author’s apparent lack of interest in sugarcoating her experiences, she ends her memoir, convincingly, on a note of optimism. Perhaps it’s the very same optimism that helped her live through unfathomable cruelty so that she could go on to have a productive life.
A sympathetic, instructive story of resilience."
"Hopefully Beautiful has left me stunned and dumbstruck as if Momma Pat has just walked past and blindsided me with a fist to the head. I hurt all over. I ache for the children that are abused; for Joye, Sand and Kooky and the hundreds of other nameless, faceless children that suffer at the hands of those that should be their protectors. I rejoice at the resilience of Joye and her siblings and all they have overcome - in spite of their circumstances (or maybe because of). That strength and beauty can arise from helplessness and ugliness is a testament to the fortitude of the human spirit. Joye B. Moore's story will capture your heart and leave you wanting and waiting to hear her sing."