Cover image for Women in a man's world, crying : essays
Women in a man's world, crying : essays
Covington, Vicki.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Tuscaloosa : University of Alabama Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
xii, 160 pages ; 24 cm
Women in a man's world, crying -- The girls' locker room -- Her breast -- Women in prison -- Nails -- Girls playing hardball -- The father-daughter game -- A southern Thanksgiving -- Donor -- A simple life -- Recipes and the friends who went with them -- Barbie -- School lunch -- Michael Jordan's midlife crisis -- Buying Annie -- Crossing the viaduct -- My mother's brain -- Race car drivers and writers -- December, a grandmother's dying -- Nixon -- Jackie - - The mouse -- The south catches on to AIDS -- The AIDS care team -- The family reunion -- Grits -- The southern art of feeding -- Museum -- The disappearing south -- The star of wonder -- Jan, my cousin -- The apple tree -- Mother's day -- Other people's hell -- Normandy -- Letters from the war -- On marriage -- A feminist Easter -- Eros -- The moon, twenty five years later -- Walking on water -- Writers don't wear petticoats -- Imagination's birth -- The horse -- The house within.
Personal Subject:
Electronic Access:
Table of contents
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3553.O883 Z475 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



This thoughtful, engaging collection showcases the best nonfiction prose produced by one of the nation's most observant and incisive writers.

This collection of warm, heartfelt essays from award-winning novelist Vicki Covington chronicles the multitude of "in between" moments in the writer's life. These are her stolen moments in between the writing of four novels- Gathering Home, Bird of Paradise, Night Ride Home, and The Last Hotel for Women ; in between coauthoring the edgy memoir Cleaving: The Story of a Marriage with her husband Dennis Covington; in between raising two daughters; in between her husband's struggle with cancer and the author's own heart attack; in between a life full of trials and triumphs, disappointments and celebrations - moments that, as Covington demonstrates here, are always rich and revealing.

In the title essay, the author questions why all seven middle-class women who live on her street confess at a neighborhood cookout that in the past 48 hours each of them has cried. In "A Southern Thanksgiving," Covington reflects on the "family dance" that is Thanksgiving in the South: "In the North they put their crazy family members in institutions, but in the South we put them in the living room for everyone to enjoy." In "My Mother's Brain," the author recounts the onset of Alzheimer's in her mother and how, with the spread of the disease, an untapped vein of love is revealed.

Some of these essays were written as weekly newspaper columns for the Birmingham News . Others were written for specific literary occasions, such as the First Annual Eudora Welty Symposium. They are divided into six thematic sections: "Girls and Women," "Neighborhood," "Death," "The South," "Spiritual Matters," and "Writing."

Throughout, as Covington casts her candid, attentive eye on a situation, confusion yields to comprehension, fear flourishes into faith, and anger flows into understanding. In memorializing the small moments of her life, she finds that they are far from peripheral; indeed, they are central to a life full of value and meaning.

Author Notes

Vicki Marsh Covington is the author of four novels, Gathering Home, Bird of
Paradise, Night Ride Home, and The Last Hotel for Women . Most
recently, she is coauthor of Cleaving: The Story of a Marriage ,
a memoir written with her husband, writer Dennis Covington. The Covingtons
live in Birmingham, Alabama.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

If Profound Lite were a literary category, Covington's collection of essays would be a standard-bearer. In an era in which women-clearly her intended readers-barely have time for bathroom breaks, there's a place for two- to three-page thought-provoking pieces by a sentimental Southern novelist (The Last Hotel for Women, etc.) who can find deep meaning in everything from grits (her visiting New York editors inevitably request the breakfast specialty, then promptly phone co-workers up North to inform them, because "[i]t makes them feel like they've seen the world"), to being glued to her manicurist ("Are Betty and I less liberated, less enlightened because we are bound... with nail glue rather than feminist ideology?"). Most of these essays originally appeared in the Birmingham (Ala.) News, and Yankee readers may grow impatient with Covington's frequent evocations of her Southern roots as both springboard and rationale for what might otherwise be considered universal realities-the need to please and the loss of rural life. But those who enjoy pondering the small things in life, who long for simpler days and are caught between mourning their parents and wondering what sort of future lies ahead for their children, will find a kindred spirit here. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Most of the essays included here were originally published as a Sunday column in Covington's hometown newspaper, the Birmingham News. Grouped by topic-e.g., girls and women, neighborhood, death, the South, spiritual life, and writing-the essays speak lovingly and longingly about what it means to attempt to balance marriage, children, friendships, family legacies, multiple careers, and religious impulses. In the title essay, seven professional women who live on Covington's cul de sac confess that each has cried in the last 48 hours and that they all grew up wanting their father's life rather than their mother's: "We are our father's daughters, living in a man's world, in a woman's body, at war with nature." Covington's prolog describes how she came to be a fiction writer (she has published four novels, including Night Ride Home), while her epilog discusses the effect of Cleaving: The Story of a Marriage, a memoir she coauthored with her husband, Dennis Covington, on her family, spiritual, and professional lives. Covington, not only wears her heart on her sleeve, she urges everyone to do the same. The collection, though a bit uneven and repetitive, is also often thought-provoking, poignant, and richly satisfying. Recommended for both public and academic libraries with large Southern fiction, Southern studies, and women's studies collections.-Pam Kingsbury, Florence, AL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.