“I don’t think any of us can sit in judgment of another human being. We’re incomplete creatures, barely scraping by. Is it possible–from the perspective of this quickly spinning Earth and our speedy journey from crib to coffin–to know the difference between right, wrong, good, and evil? I don’t know if it’s even useful to try.”
-Alexandra Fuller, Scribbling The Cat
Minutes before the reading from her latest memoir, Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness, we caught up with best- selling author Alexandra Fuller in Cambridge, Mass. Her first memoir, Don’t Lets Go To The Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood, was an astonishing recollection of her childhood in war torn Rhodesia. It dealt brutally and honestly with her “racist, psychotic, gun-toting ” mother and left me with no shortage of questions. How does one reconcile a painful childhood? How do you learn to forgive your own mother’s choices? Mostly, I wanted to meet the woman who could write so eloquently about such a harrowing and, at times death-defying, upbringing without self-pity or blame. “When I was younger I took her (mother’s) madness personally. But, she had a right to lose her mind. We don’t experience our parents as people; that comes only with the objectivity of age.”
Alexandra’s perspective on life and death, clearly molded by her wildly eccentric and often dangerous childhood in Zimbabwe, has much to teach modern American women on fearlessness, self-compassion, and the role of motherhood in our lives. Her utterly unique perspective may just change your life.