Patricia Foster's haunting memoir weaves together the life of a mother and daughter caught in the web of that mother's ambition. The mother, intelligent and driven, but trapped by a heartbreaking secret, is determined that her daughters receive the training that will guarantee their success as professional women. Foster and her sister are brought up as ""honorary boys,"" girls with the ambition of men but the temperament of women, in rural south Alabama in the 1950s and 1960s. Foster's desire is to please her mother, but by the time she reaches age fifteen, her efforts to reconcile the contradictory expectations that she be both ambitious and restrained leave her nervous and needy even as she cultivates the appearance of the model student, sister, and daughter. All the Lost Girls charts the difficult unraveling the narrator must do to achieve understanding and autonomy. All the Lost Girls has been praised by Mary Swander as carrying on ""the southern literary tradition of creating a strong, direct voice that isn't afraid to see the humor of a situation, to artistically sketch a lush landscape, and to depict fascinating rural characters."" Originally published in 2000, this new paperback version of the book will be a continued favorite of literary groups, reading clubs, classrooms, and general readers alike.
Patricia Foster is Associate Professor of English at the University of Iowa. She is editor of Minding the Body: Women Writers on Body and Soul and Sister to Sister: Women Write about the Unbreakable Bond and coeditor of The Healing Circle.