A Grandmother's Guide to Happiness
Atria Books, Paperback, 9780743497121, 176pp.
Publication Date: October 15, 2008
Award-winning author of fiction and nonfiction Jewell Parker Rhodes is a master of her craft, under-standing how both real and imagined stories can serve as a pathway to enlightenment. Porch Stories is Rhodes's tribute to her beloved grandmother, a real account of the love she received and the lessons she learned.
Jewell Parker Rhodes was left in the care of her father and his mother when her own mother abandoned the family. Grandmother Ernestine's house in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was home to four other grandchildren as well. And while its crumbling bricks, lack of air-conditioning, and neighborhood rodents meant that life was anything but easy, the family house was filled with love. Everyone on their street knew and loved Grandmother Ernestine; men would tip their hats and children would rush up for a hug any time she was outside.
No one loved Grandmother Ernestine more than Jewell, who would pass up a movie with her cousins to sit outside on Ernestine's front stoop and listen to her stories and her words of comfort. Jewell would later move out West to live with her mother and father as they reattempted marriage. But that was a short-lived experience. Before long, she was back in the loving arms of her grandmother, whose wisdom and warmth gave all of her children the tools to overcome the ordinary and extraordinary challenges life brings. Porch Stories, described by Rhodes as "an intergenerational love song," is a loving tribute that is at once candid, courageous, and reverent -- a literary portrait of family love that readers from all walks of life can see in themselves.
"A vivid and affectionate portrait...Grandmother Ernestine is the keeper of wisdom, stories, hopes, and dreams. Thank you, Jewell Parker Rhodes, for sharing her with us."
-- Amy Hill Hearth, coauthor with the Delany Sisters of Having Our Say
"A loving ode to the power and strength of one woman's voice."
-- Gail Tsukiyama, award-winning author of Dreaming Water
"Mystical and down-to-earth...a more coherent and poetic grandmother narrative than most anybody ever had."
-- Lorene Cary, author of Black Ice