Written in 1928, the year Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings moved to Cross Creek, her autobiographical first novel, Blood of My Blood, was never published. Its existence was unknown to her contemporaries--including Max Perkins, her editor at Scribner’s.
Blood of My Blood is a portrait of the young artist very nearly ruined by egotism and through being alternately pushed and spoiled by her mother Ida. It is also a tender tribute to her father Arthur and a moving account of their relationship. But always at the center of the story is the intense love and hate that flamed back and forth between mother and daughter. Blood of My Blood reveals not only the painful process of maturation for a creative but tormented mind but also the steady growth of an artist.
There are wonderful descriptions of the natural world, people, objects, and--uniquely for Rawlings--of the big city and city-dwellers. Born in Washington, D.C., and reared there until her graduation from high school in 1914, Rawlings’ descriptions of the city are historically charming, and her depiction of the society where "class distinctions were shaved wafer thin" is remarkable for its pertinence nearly a century later.
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (1896-1953) is best known for her Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel The Yearling and her nonfiction narrative Cross Creek, both of which have been made into motion pictures.
Anne Blythe Meriwether is an independent literary scholar.
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"And now, with "Blood of my Blood," a rather depressing coming of age story, readers can look at the early Rawlings and marvel at how she overcame such anger and found her way to become a writer of such compelling storytelling power." - The State, Colombia, SC The State, Colombia, SC
"A bleak, defiant, bare - knuckles read. Provides enormously interesting insights into the author's work." - Kirkus Reviews Kirkus Reviews
"'Blood of my Blood' is the story of the eternal conflict between ambitious parent and unwilling child. Rawlings writes about this complex relationship with dispassionate clarity. It is a remarkable book." - Tampa Tribune & Times Tampa Tribune and Times
"The graceful final passages when Marjorie goes off to live her own life after marrying a man her mother hates, and must come to terms with Ida's growing loneliness. Given what Rawling's went on to achieve. This seminal work constitutes a useful document for those interested in delving further in her unusual life. A strong library selection and a likely university seller." Publisher's Weekly Publishers Weekly
"an unforgettable and impressive story, 'part autobiography, part family chronicle.'" - Bloomsbury Review Bloomsbury Review
"What a treasure- belated insight into the early works of such an esteemed author. Blood of my Blood is the story of the eternal conflict between ambitious parent and unwilling child, Rawlings writes about this complex relationship with dispassionate clarity. It is a remarkable book." - Tampa Tribune Tampa Tribune
"A fascinating glimpse at yet another writer's attempt to struggle with the knowledge that, alas, she didn't give birth to herself but rather had to put up with a mother who fell somewhere short of perfection." - Washington Post Book World Washington Post
"Blood of My Blood is an important first novel because it reveals Rawlings' early views of her family and her early development as an artist. The novel will be of interest to historians, literary critics, and readers who love her later novels." - H-Florida H-Florida
This work was written early in the first half of the 1900s, well before feminists and other women writers brought their personal stories to light for us. The loss and rediscovery of this manuscript whet this reader's curiosity as to why the author never published this early writing, and one might gasp at how very nearly it came to permanent loss. CALYX: Journal of Art and Literature by Women