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A Memoir

Judy Goldman

Published: May 24 2022




Published: May 24 2022

OA Ebook
Published: May 24 2022


The inclusion of this book in the Open Carolina collection is made possible by the generous funding of

2023 Southern Book Prize Nonfiction Finalist • A 2022 Katie Couric Media Must-Read New Book • A personal meditation on love in the shadow of white privilege and racism

Child is the story of Judy Goldman's relationship with Mattie Culp, the Black woman who worked for her family as a live-in maid and helped raise her—the unconscionable scaffolding on which the relationship was built and the deep love. It is also the story of Mattie's child, who was left behind to be raised by someone else. Judy, now eighty, cross-examines what it was to be a privileged white child in the Jim Crow South, how a bond can evolve in and out of step with a changing world, and whether we can ever tell the whole truth, even to ourselves. It is an incandescent book of small moments, heart-warming, heartbreaking, and, ultimately, inspiring.

Available in audiobook from Tantor Media

Judy Goldman is the award-winning author of seven books including Together: A Memoir of a Marriage and a Medical Mishap, named one of the best books of 2019 by Real Simple. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.

"Child is brave and lyrically told, a hymn of praise to a woman Goldman adored."—Charlotte Observer

"[Goldman] looks back on her life with a discerning eye that is able to appraise the dichotomy of her Southern upbringing. This act of remembering and then re-seeing brings a whiplash of honest realizations to the memoir's pages. ... Child shows that truth—at least truth of a sort—can be found."—SouthPark

"A gently told memoir of a cherished woman."—Kirkus

"A rich memoir that is long overdue, Child examines a Jewish child's loving relationship with a Black woman in the segregated South."—Foreword Reviews

"[A] fascinating memoir..."—The Charlotte Jewish News

"This moving memoir of a Black woman's importance in a white family reminds me that behind, under, and above the racial divide in the South, there ran strong currents of abiding love and mutual protection. These currents Judy Goldman excels at exploring without illusion and with full humanity. What a brave and timely book."—Frances Mayes, New York Times bestselling author of Under Magnolia and Under the Tuscan Sun

"Steeped in vivid, evocative memories of her southern childhood, Goldman's moving memoir "re-inhabits" and "interprets" the past: a white child growing up in a Black woman's care. It's a brave undertaking to explore the complexities of that time and place, but Goldman's wise, clear-eyed recognition of truth moves the memories into a new place."—Jill McCorkle, New York Times bestselling author of Hieroglyphics

"With mesmerizing detail and remarkable acuity, with a storyteller's ear and a poet's precision, Judy Goldman conveys, in Child, the profound goodness that shaped her, the antinomies that haunt her, and the mysteries that exert themselves even within the gilded frame of love."—Beth Kephart, National Book Award finalist and author of Wife Daughter Self: A Memoir in Essays and We Are the Words: The Master Memoir Class

"Child is as profound a memoir as I've ever read. In one gorgeously rendered scene after another, Goldman illuminates the paradoxes of a loving childhood built on "unconscionable scaffolding." To read this riveting book is to learn how to hold the finest detail up to the light, how to examine all memory."—Abigail DeWitt, author of News of Our Loved Ones

"Judy Goldman cuts through the mist of memory to find a deeper truth in her relationship with her family's longtime housekeeper, Mattie. It's a story about love, family, privilege and prejudice, seen through the eyes of innocence and the eyes of experience. What a stunning feat."—Tommy Tomlinson, author of The Elephant in the Room

"South-turned-North Carolinian Judy Goldman has essentially mastered the art of the memoir. This book unpacks a common Southern experience (that I won't give away here) with such poise and grace. It's also up for the Southern book award for nonfiction! Just read it and, if you like to, check out her other books."—Zoe Yarborough, StyleBlueprint

"[An] honest look at a complicated and important relationship. . . . That sense of investigation between writer and reader makes Child a remarkable achievement."—North Carolina Literary Review

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