Gal by Ruthie Bolton
A True Life

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Synopsis

Ruthie Mae Bolton was born January 6, 1961, in the Hungry Neck section of Charleston, South Carolina. At the time, her mother was thirteen; she has never known who her father was. Her mother was the wandering kind, so Ruthie Mae-nicknamed "Gal" by her stepgrandfather-was raised in her grandparents' home. One day Grandmama died as a result of a severe beating by her husband-it occured to no one to call this to the attention of the authorities-and Gal was left in the brutal hands of her granddaddy, who beat her unmercifully as well. Ruthie Mae began to steal things in school and she developed a stutter; she drank and smoked dope. But she stuck resolutely with her education and graduated from high school, which was likely her salvation, for today Ruthie Mae is happily married, with children and a fine job. At last she is at peace-with herself and even with the memory of her grandfather. It is nigh impossible to convey the astonishingly eloquent simplicity of Ruthie Mae's witnessing to her time. Here is an absolutely remarkable document, as touching as it is painful, as ageless as it is timely.
 

About Ruthie Bolton

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Ruthie M. Bolton is a writer and oral historian. The name is the pseudonym of an African American writer born on January 6, 1961 in Charleston, South Carolina. Bolton graduated from high school despite a difficult childhood. She wrote the details of her life of abuse and neglect and showed it to the novelist, Josephine Humphreys. Humphreys suggested that Bolton tell her story as oral history and helped by transcribing the tapes and writing the introduction to the finished book.
 
Published May 23, 1994 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 288 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Parenting & Relationships, History. Non-fiction

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He beat Ruthie's grandmother to death in front of her, punished minor infractions with savage beatings or humiliating punishments, and though he spent money freely on drink and other women, he refused to provide the girl and her sisters and young aunts with proper clothing or adequate food.

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Publishers Weekly

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The pseudonymous Bolton offers an unflinching account of her tragic childhood--she was born to a 13-year-old mother and brought up by an abusive grandfather--and her eventual discovery of love and hap

Oct 02 1995 | Read Full Review of Gal: A True Life

Publishers Weekly

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The pseudonymous Bolton offers an unflinching account of her tragic childhood--she was born to a 13-year-old mother and brought up by an abusive grandfather--and her eventual discovery of love and hap

Oct 02 1995 | Read Full Review of Gal: A True Life

Publishers Weekly

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Born in 1961 of a 13-year-old mother--father unknown--Ruthie Mae, or ``Gal'' as she was known, was raised in a Charleston, S.C., black island community as a virtual slave to a drunken, sadistic step-grandfather who beat his wife to death.

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Los Angeles Times

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Impressed by Bolton's unique life and by her natural talent for language, Humphreys took time away from her own work to be, as she puts it, "only a witness and a secretary," recording and then transcribing the book over an extended period of time.

Jul 19 1994 | Read Full Review of Gal: A True Life

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