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Beauty with Confusion
by Mavis Young Shepherd
Beauty with Confusion takes us back to the 1940s, when only race and skin color determined one’s social status.
At seven years old, Mavis loses her parents. As the youngest among her siblings, she is left with little attention because her sisters and brother go their separate ways, doing grown-up things in order to survive. Mavis is a South African and is twelve years old when she is introduced to the cruelties of society, hidden behind the façade of civility by the European-dominated civilization of South Africa. Her sister, Hilda, sends her to an orphanage, where she is treated indifferently by the nuns. She runs away and for several years, she is homeless.
Young and naive, Mavis becomes pregnant three times and is battered by men who take advantage of her innocence. Her second child, Antoinette, is the product of a rape by a white man—Antoinette, in turn, comes to this world as a light-skinned baby. Bearing a white child makes Mavis’s life more difficult to live. People laugh at and scorn her for dealing with a white man. Antoinette grows up and soon runs away from home in America, never to be seen again. With every tear shed over her disappearance, Mavis still clings to the hope that after 36 years, Antoinette will one day return.
Mavis endures abuse and discrimination, but with every tear she sheds, she gains hope. She marries a black Yankee, who loves her and her children unconditionally. Her life, though, will never be complete without her Antoinette.
Through her writing, Mavis Shepherd desires that her daughter, Antoinette, will find her way back to her family.
About the author
Shepherd is a native of South Africa and migrated to the United States of America in the 1980s.
(2011, paperback, 46 pages)