Oakland’s Daughter and Her Struggles to Overcome

We rated this book:


If you wonder what it’s like growing up in poverty, the story of Maria Harper Davis opens the door and lets you see. Her travails occurred in the poor neighborhoods of Oakland, California. In Oakland’s Daughter and Her Struggles to Overcome, the reader gets immersed in the rough neighborhoods and tattered lives that comfortable middle-class Americans rarely encounter. Born into poverty by a young single mother, Davis describes her life in an extremely dysfunctional family. Some of it was uncomfortable to read, especially the detailed accounts of sexual molestation and rape. Davis’ problems were exacerbated at a young age by her stepfather’s drinking and his abuse of her mother. As an adult, Davis is repeatedly manipulated and abused by men in her life. Illegal drugs add to the toxic drama. Her service in the military seemed to help her mature a little by exposing her to the world outside Oakland.

Davis projects a sharp sense of justice and fairness, which is understandable, but could be perceived as critical. Eventually, she has an encounter with God in a local church. Davis did not describe her religious conversion as immediately fixing all her problems. Rather, she continued to face adversity and made mistakes, but her faith helped her endure. This reviewer felt empathy for Davis and the unfairness in her life. Her story reveals how most of us can’t imagine what it’s like growing up surrounded by adults who continually break the law without consequences.

The book could have been more effective with some deeper introspection about how God healed her heart. The prose is not elaborate and often reads like a report. This reviewer encountered some characters and situations that left me wondering why they were included. An interesting book, but not advised for squeamish readers.

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Star Count 3/5
Format Trade
Page Count 240 pages
Publisher Xlibris
Publish Date 12-May-2010
ISBN 9781441588982
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue November 2010
Category Biographies & Memoirs


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