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All the Days of My Life: An Autobiography


The Red Leaves of a Human Heart



Let Amelia Huddleston grow on you. Watch her grow and change, allowing us to scrutinize along with her, the lessons life brings her. It's a long book, leisurely and thorough. Full of dignity and graciously obscured moments too private to share, she lets us into her thinking. She sees the first lead pencils, and copies by hand everything she writes for publication until the typewriter appears on the scene in her 50's. A celebration around the first box of matches her family ever sees lets you see the flares of each one lit that evening, and hear the giggles and reactions she describes. And this is only the periphery of her story; the props. We've all heard about plagues and the high childhood mortality of times past. We know now how dirt relates to disease: in her time, she and her generation did not know yet. Bad air, spooky sensations, and news of advancing epidemics were their only protection: so fragile one can hardly keep reading as she herself dances as best she can the frantic steps of her time to avert disease herself. And then to the heart of why one keeps reading: she's a great visitor. You can feel the hot tea in your throat as you take a repast with her; you can feel the tumbling of her heart as it bolts for cover as life blind sides her. You can hear her faith strong and true, and even disagreeing, let her rant because mothers can rant, and she becomes much like one's mother as the pages go by. It's hard to read for the right reasons: it's truthful, and it tells us how our own ancestors might have seen things. The suspense almost never falters all through the long life she relates to us.--Submitted by Phyllis Fajersson.

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Amelia E. Barr