What You Don’t Know Will Make a Whole New World: A Memoir
Dorothy Lazard experienced a chaotic childhood: her mother suffered from epilepsy and her elderly father was overwhelmed. For a time, she and her brother were sent to an institution in St. Louis until a distant relative arrived and brought them to San Francisco. They arrived in 1968 as “reluctant migrants,” landing in Haight-Ashbury. Reunited with her ill mother, she was brought up mostly under the watchful eye of her grandmother—a woman who thought the Bible was the only book worth reading. But Dorothy found her way to the public library and spent hours there, absorbing everything she could. Is it any wonder that as an adult, she became a librarian?
The book focuses on her childhood and adolescence, as she shuttled from school to school, searching for her place in the world. It was a time of momentous change for Black people, and Lazard chronicles those upheavals and realizations with a clear, unsentimental view. “The early 1970s was the first best time to be a Black kid in America” and she avidly absorbed the music, movies, literature, and role models. A book to appeal to anyone who lived through those times or who is seeking a beautifully written memoir, full of heart and soul.
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