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Alberta Christian's autobiography, Woman of Substance, is a refreshing addition to the burgeoning literature about the lives of Dominicans from all spheres of life who in their own extraordinary way, have significantly enriched their community. In it, Christian details her life growing up in the village of St. Joseph, her family's struggle to survive during World War II, her life as a teacher, wife and mother and her vicarious pleasure as the fruits of her labour are realized through the extraordinary success of her children. Christian's autobiography, in many respects, does not cover virgin territory. Several prominent Dominican women, most notably authors, Jean Rhys, Phyllis Shand Allfrey and Elma Napier, have written autobiographical sketches of their lives in Dominica in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Other writers, such as Jamaica Kincaid's Autobiography of My Mother and Marie-Elena John's Unburnable, have also written fictional stories which explore the extraordinary hold of the landscape on the sensibility of their heroines. But whereas these works all depict the Dominican landscape as possessing a malignity or hostility which prefigures some crisis experienced by the subject or heroine, the very converse is true in Christian's autobiography. Growing up in modest circumstances in St. Joseph, a young Alberta Christian appeared to be totally in sync with her environment despite the daily hardships which threaten to circumscribe her future. Indeed, Alberta's extraordinary resistance and mettle was nursed by the very factors that conspired to abort any prospects or ambitions of many of her compatriots. But Alberta's parents imbued their children with strong religious beliefs which gave them a quiet confidence and dedication to overcome all obstacles. When her father lost his job on a plantation, he was consumed by shame. However, rather than retreat into a dungeon of self-pity, he chose instead to farm a portion of land in the heights of his village, although there were more arable portions of available land closer to his home. But in the anatomy of her parents' tribulations, the scalpel of corrective action was being operated on Alberta. When Alberta's father lost his job, her mother entered the work force, picking tobacco and limes on a local estate. When she fell, and broke her collarbone, Alberta's mother relied on her deeply rooted faith, reassuring her brood that "e;God is good"e; and that everything would be alright. And so, lacking the protection of a social safety net, the John Baptiste family tarried, eking out a living with measures such as selling eats at church services and cricket matches and making charcoal. The Christian children themselves added heft to these survival efforts and in the process, forged their own success on the anvil of honest labour. Steeped in a tradition of sacrifice, frugality and religion, Alberta Christian would grow up, marry into a well-known musical family in Dominica and imbue her own children with the qualities and belief system which molded her as she progressed from childhood to adulthood. In her husband, Wendell, Alberta found a soul mate whose own tremendous sense of civic duty matched her own. Wendell Christian, whose life is chronicled by son, Gabriel, a prominent barrister in Maryland, U.S.A., in his 2009 book, For King & Country, enlisted in the British military during World War II and afterwards was a senior officer in the Dominica Fire Services for decades before his retirement. This is a riveting story of endurance, faith and good works, amidst a sea of adversity, is a timely reminder to all readers of the importance of duty, the importance of strong family discipline, and unselfish service to community.
$25.96

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PRODUCT DETAILS

  • Subtitle: The Life & Times of Alberta Christian
  • Format: eBook
  • Category: General Biographies
  • Publication Date: 30/09/2017

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$50

$60

$70

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$60

$70

$80

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$50

$65

$75

$90

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$55

$75

$85

$100

4kgs

$60

$80

$95

$105

4.5kgs

$65

$85

$100

$115

5kgs

$70

$95

$110

$125

 

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