I’ve just read the last words in award-winning poet Alice Anderson’s new memoir, “Some Bright Morning, I’ll Fly Away.” I wiped away tears underneath my fogged-up glasses. My chest is teeming with heartache for what she and her sweet three—that’s what Anderson calls her children—have endured over the last 15 years and beyond. Before she married and had children, Anderson was raised by a father who repeatedly raped her and a mother who ignored Anderson’s pleas to notice, to know, to make it stop.
Later, when Anderson married, the man she understandably thought would love and cherish her instead began abusing her with bullying taunts, gas lighting and the revolting emotional control only a person with psychopathic tendencies can perfectly master.
Eventually—as these things tend to go with abusers—the abuse escalated into the realm of physical, when Anderson’s body was brutally battered in front of her children. But Anderson defied the odds and escaped. She took her children and she fled for safety, away from her husband, a wealthy doctor in the small town of Ocean Springs, Mississippi. It wasn’t an easy journey, as the whips of abuse kept coming in multiple harrowing forms, including a traumatic brain injury for Anderson and countless and long-lasting emotional damage for her children, who both witnessed and experienced their father’s wrath.
But Anderson (pictured, left) and her children persisted, never giving up on their dream to be free from the man who hurt them all. In “Some Bright Morning, I’ll Fly Away,” Anderson begins the prologue with the line, “We make chapels of our scars.” “Some Bright Morning, I’ll Fly Away” is a story of “the chapel” that was built from Anderson and her sweet three’s “scars,” written with such evocative and poetic language that it made my heart swell and burst while lapping up every page of this searing story. Anderson’s powerful and breathtaking memoir broke my heart and put it back together again.
Some Bright Morning, I’ll Fly Away, St. Martin’s Press, is available Aug. 29, 2017. Buy it on Amazon or support a local bookstore with your purchase.