God Is Not Pixie Dust
“Let me tell you quickly. If I tell you quickly, like ripping a Band-Aid from a scab, I might be less likely to romanticize it, to recount my memories as some jaded love story. It wasn’t. Actually, it was a slaying, a murder to harvest fresh blood.” So begins the beautifully poignant memoir of Portia Bates as she shares her story of deep tragedy and of sweet redemption. More
“Let me tell you quickly. If I tell you quickly, like ripping a Band-Aid from a scab, I might be less likely to romanticize it, to recount my memories as some jaded love story. It wasn’t. Actually, it was a slaying, a murder to harvest fresh blood.”
So begins the beautifully poignant memoir of Portia Bates, born in North Carolina where her mother’s family held reunions in nightclubs, and her father’s people sang songs to Jesus, praying for blessings to rain down on them like pixie dust. Yet, in that hallowed space lay a curled serpent, a deep betrayal by God’s chosen one.
The delicate words in Portia’s narrative juxtapose sharply against the tangled web of deceit and complicity that created the space for the destruction of her innocence. And so, 20 years later, we meet the ghost of the child she once was, the one who lost her childhood to a long black robe and a stained white collar. We find her asking herself: “Why does this immovable, calcified rock sit so heavily on my chest? . . . He imbibed himself with a fertile garden he was never supposed to taste, a rose he was never meant to smell, satisfied his fingers with skin he was never supposed to stroke, and conquered a land he was never meant to possess. In that fading space between adolescence and adulthood where the mind, the body, and the soul are bubbling over with curiosity, he sat in the shadows watching me grow.”
Portia writes these words as she struggles to live with the broken dreams of her adolescence, as she reaches toward a future her story never intended for her to touch. Perhaps it is family and deep roots set down in her native North Carolina that account for her survival. Portia endures a cruelty that no one should ever have to endure and yet rises above it to tell her tale eloquently and with remarkable acumen.
The message of this haunting story is that sometimes to move forward, you must stare down your past, determine if its remnants will leave a trail of crumbs to your future. To determine if, in fact, there is any dream left in the soul.
God is Not Pixie Dust, imbued on every page with Portia Bates’ haunting words and keen observations, is a book that will stay with you long after you turn the last page.
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