Reviewed by Marissa Libbit for Reader Views (3/11)
“Passage” by Sandy Powers is the true life story of the author’s mother Grace. Upon Grace’s death, Ms. Powers is presented with her mother’s journal and a collection of legal documents and newspaper articles highlighting important times in her life as well as in history. It seems as if the author knew little of her mother’s upbringing which included abuse and adoption. Throughout her marriage, Grace raised a family of five during World War II and, through an interesting chain of events, became an FBI informant.
“Passage” was a quick, easy read. Written in short journal entries with letters and newspaper articles reprinted throughout, important events in Grace’s life are discussed in chronological order. I get the impression that the author did not sit down to write a literary account of her mother’s life but rather to document her life for the family in much of Grace’s own words. While this style left many holes in Grace’s life such as more information about her children and their interactions with her, I actually quite enjoyed the simplicity with which the story was told. Through Grace’s words I got a clear picture of the strong, determined woman who sought always to do what was right and wanted only to be treated fairly, never intending to take more than her share. I am pleased the author chose to share Grace’s story with others. It might have been nice to have a commentary at the end as to Ms. Powers’ impressions of the literature she found after her mother’s death other than just her emotional reaction.
“Passage” is a nice history lesson and example of the strength of a woman tested more than her simple upbringing had prepared her for. I would have liked to have met Grace. Much can be learned from those who have lived their lives ahead of us.