This compelling volume brings together personal essays and memoir by a diverse group of gifted authors united by their poor or working-class origins. The contributors include Dorothy Allison, Joy Castro, Lisa D. Chavez, Mary Childers, Sandra Cisneros, Judith Ortiz Cofer, Teresa de la Caridad Doval, Maureen Gibbon, Dwonna Goldstone, Joy Harjo, Lorraine M. Lopez, Karen Salyer McElmurray, Amelia Montes, Bich Minh Nguyen, Judy Owens, Lynn Pruett, Heather Sellers, and Angela Threatt. In a sense, these stories are the travel narratives of women who have journeyed beyond their family circumstances to cross class borders, aided by educational opportunities that encouraged their literary gifts to blossom.
Some of the essays reflect on the immigrant experience and struggles against the multiplying factors of poverty, gender, and ethnicity; others recount the first moment of awareness of class (for Bich Minh Nguyen, it occurred while watching Laverne and Shirley on the family's first television); other essays describe encounters in the relatively privileged world of higher education - where the subject of class is mostly off-limits but evident everywhere (for Mary Childers, 'Colleges depend on employees who can verbally repress for success'). Throughout, the authors engage questions of work and family, men and money, motherhood and sexuality, and the experiences that have provided an opportunity for each to develop her own distinct identity and to reflect on both sides of the class coin from her own particular 'angle of vision'.