I have had the wonderful opportunity to read through Living in the Heartland: Three Extraordinary Women’s Stories by Pamela Ferris-Olson (Amazon). This is a great book that I just finished reading this evening, and will be reviewing in the days to come for you.
In the meantime, I’d love to share the press release on this book for you, which offers a great summary of the message this book has to offer. Check it out below!
New Book Chronicles Women’s Struggle for Identity
Living in the Heartland: Three Extraordinary Women’s Stories by Pamela Ferris-Olson is intimate account of three contemporary minority women in Ohio
DAYTON, OHIO – Living in the Heartland: Three Extraordinary Women’s Stories is an intimate look at contemporary minority women living in the nation’s heartland. It is a compelling story of real Americans – women who are heroines not because of remarkable feats but in the graceful way they live in the face of challenges.
Nancy left the reservation in search of opportunities. She found many though they’ve not come without challenges. Isolation, abuse, a broken heart haven’t deterred her from a desire for a better life.
Ife, as a young child, tried to be a good daughter. She was the only teenager in her Dayton, Ohio high school to wear the veil of a devout Muslim. Her sheltered life left her unprepared for the consequences of teenage indiscretions. Ife has worked tirelessly for two decades to overcome poverty, and to rise to the challenges of raising two sons in a world that has preconceived notions about black males.
Ellyn used to cry herself to sleep. It wasn’t because other children called her names. The adopted youngster yearned to know what her life would be like had she remained in Korea. As a teenager she located her biological family, and has wondered if she’d get the chance to return to the land of her birth and discover herself.
Living in the Heartland chronicles the lives of minorities that are rarely discussed in literature: a Native American, an African-American Muslim, and a Korean-born adoptee. The stories of these Dayton, OH residents aren’t told in a singular voice; instead, mother’s, daughters and other women with something important to say are included.
“Ife, Nancy, Ellyn, and the other women openly and earnestly shared their stories with me. They believed in this project. I owe it to them to see their stories are told so others might benefit,” author Pamela Ferris-Olson said.
Our country is more racially and ethnically diverse than any previous time in its history. American’s population continues to grow, and become increasingly multiracial and predominantly female. Living in the Heartland is a celebration of women and a well-timed appeal for Americans to embrace diversity.
“I think it is important to note that I do not belong to a racial or ethnic minority. My interest in writing this book stems from my parents who, I believe, represent the dichotomy that exists in America. My mother was content to live within the confines of her Eurocentric, socio-economically comfortable world. My father, however, stepped beyond its boundaries in 1942 when he enlisted in the Armed Forces. At the age of twenty-seven, with a wife, two young children, and a nice home in the suburbs, my father convinced my mother to sign the papers necessary for him to fulfill what he felt was his patriotic obligation to participate in World War II. He became an officer in the Army’s 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a unit composed predominantly of Japanese-Americans. Most of the members of the 442nd were Nisei (second-generation). While they were allowed to serve as soldiers, many of their families were subjected to forced internment. My father was proud of his command and his men and throughout his life he remained in contact with some of them, but when they came to visit him at home my mother would not leave the bedroom to go and meet them. As a devoted daughter and as a writer, I have had an increasing desire to be involved in the dialogue about intolerance. While I never had the chance to meet my father’s troops, I am certain that his stories and respect for these men and their families lie at the heart of this book,” said Ferris-Olson.
Award-wining writer and photographer, Pamela Ferris-Olson’s book provides intimate, compelling stories about three minority women; however, their struggles will resonate with all women. Ferris-Olson believes that diversity should be life-enriching not limiting. She also encourages women to recognize their own successes and share their own stories. She hosts a blog (http://intheheartland3women.wordpress.com) for this purpose. It is a place where women’s struggles and successes are honored.