Welfare Brat

Welfare Brat

A Memoir

eBook - 2005
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From an early age, Mary knew she was different. She loved her family fiercely but didn't want to repeat her mother's or older sisters' mistakes. The Childers family culture was infused with alcohol and drugs, and relations between the sexes were muddled by simultaneous feelings of rage and desire toward men. Fatherless children were the norm. Academic achievement and hard work were often scorned, not rewarded; five of the seven Childers children dropped out of high school. But Mary was determined to create a better life, and here she recounts her bumpy road to self-sufficiency. With this engaging and thoughtful examination of her difficult early years, Mary Childers breathes messy life into the issues of poverty and welfare dependence, childhood resilience, the American work ethic, and a popular culture that values sexuality more than self-esteem.
An intimate and frank look at poverty, abuse, and welfare dependence by a "welfare brat" who came of age in the blighted Bronx of the 1960s. Mary Childers grew up in a neighborhood ravaged by poverty. Once a borough of elegant apartment buildings, parks, and universities, the Bronx had become a national symbol of urban decay. White flight, arson, rampant crime, and race riots provide the backdrop for Mary's story. The child of an absent carny father for whom she longed and a single welfare mother who schemed and struggled to house and feed her brood, Mary was the third of her mother's surviving seven children, who were fathered by four different men.
Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury Pub. : distributed to the trade by Holtzbrinck Publishers, 2005.
Edition: 1st U.S. ed.
ISBN: 9781596917415
1596917415
Characteristics: 1 online resource.
Contents: Cherry pie
Sleepwalking toward the horizon
Pants and jackets
Triumph and shame
Coney Island
Moving
Miracles
Shakespeare
Fresh air fund
Huddled couples
Birthdays
A new apartment
The watch
Grand concourse
Belonging
Thigh gliding
Lessons
Carnival secrets
Malcolm X and the Scarlet A
Mace
Summer camp
Mother's helper
Serendipity
Ed Sullivan
Advice
Rumors and riots
School strikes
Sex and the Inner City
Envelopes
Dead man's float
Rapprochement
Country music, 1982.
Summary: From an early age, Mary knew she was different. She loved her family fiercely but didn't want to repeat her mother's or older sisters' mistakes. The Childers family culture was infused with alcohol and drugs, and relations between the sexes were muddled by simultaneous feelings of rage and desire toward men. Fatherless children were the norm. Academic achievement and hard work were often scorned, not rewarded; five of the seven Childers children dropped out of high school. But Mary was determined to create a better life, and here she recounts her bumpy road to self-sufficiency. With this engaging and thoughtful examination of her difficult early years, Mary Childers breathes messy life into the issues of poverty and welfare dependence, childhood resilience, the American work ethic, and a popular culture that values sexuality more than self-esteem.

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