Review of Sonja Livingston’s Queen of the Fall

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

By Debbie Hagan

fall“The assignment is to write what we’d like to be someday. One of the most regular questions of childhood, yet it seems I’ve never been asked it. Maybe because I’m one of seven children in a family headed by a woman without a husband or a career and we live in a neighborhood brimming with similar women, people who did not plan as children to wait tables or clean hotel rooms or stand on porches and corners, watching as the world passes.”

Reading Sonja Livingston deliberating the perennial childhood question—What do you want to be when you grow up?— in her new collection, Queen of the Fall: A Memoir of Girls and Goddesses, I’m taken back to Mrs. Dowdy’s class. I’m ten years old, chewing my pencil, trying hard to picture myself setting out at sunrise, swinging a metal lunch pail, going I don’t know where…

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