Big Topics at Midnight:
A Texas Girl Wakes Up to Race, Class, Gender and Herself

by Nancy M. Thurston

Rosegate Press, 2012. ISBN 978-0-985-45101-1.
Reviewed by Khadijah A.
Posted on 11/04/2013

Nonfiction: Memoir

Big Topics at Midnight covers a lot of ground—both in terms of time and subjects discussed. Nancy M. Thurston joins the voices of her female ancestors with her own voice, blending their stories with hers to tell the story of a nation.

Born in 1954, Thurston entered a world charged with the electricity of awakenings. Women were beginning to seek out roles other than those traditionally given to them. The civil rights movement was gaining momentum and was on the brink of taking the nation by storm. While her immediate world was relatively calm and sheltered, things were going on around her and eventually she had to open her eyes and do what she could, to not only rediscover and redefine herself, but also to work for greater change.

One of the most unique features of this book is the way Thurston chooses to share the voices from the past with her readers. She literally puts words into their mouths, putting herself in their places and speaking as she feels they would speak if they were able. This was at times distracting, as I had to look back and see the woman who was speaking, but in general it added a depth, interest, and timelessness that the book otherwise would have lacked. Some attempts were more successful than others, but in general it was a beautiful and effective way to broaden the story and embrace these women, whose stories are so intertwined with the author's as well as the nation's.

This is a book about my mother's generation, and the gift that I found within it was some understanding, I believe, of my mother herself.

Read an excerpt from this book.

Nancy M. Thurston is a Texas-born woman with an insatiable desire for awareness and an irresistible call from Spirit. Trained in physical therapy and spiritual formation, she has expanded the boundaries of her work to include bringing her money into alignment with her heart and faith. Nancy lives in Portland, Oregon, with her Texas childhood sweetheart, now husband, Howard. She has two adult children. Visit her website.

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