The Early Years: A Memoir
by Rachel G. Carrington
Stratton Press

"We had become stronger and even more ready to tackle any to come. The Carrington family was all right!"

An authentic depiction of a lifetime of experiences, this autobiography captures a range of emotions in its most unadulterated form, both of Carrington's formative years as well as the duality of the trying times and moments of jubilation in raising her own family. Undoubtedly, the author's strength lies in the ability to portray her truth succinctly that both sheds light on her life and immediately creates an instant connection and relatability with her audience.

While the work is an incredibly comprehensive account of the early years, numerous scenes stand out from each of her life's phases. Despite acknowledging early on that the family's income level meant college was off the table for all the children, Rachel turns down a lucrative scholarship, adamant about following the conviction in her heart that she had met her soulmate. Part of what makes Carrington's narrative so compelling is seeing the power of the human spirit that she exhibits. This spirit and commitment are best exemplified by her high school graduation, where, after being a few minutes late in returning home, she is forced to spend the night outside the home, locked out from the warmth of her family.

The text deals with sentiments ranging from grief and tragedy in the family to healing and mending divisions, especially between Carrington and her parents. More than anything else, whether Rachel is in her hometown of Kentucky, Cincinnati, or elsewhere, her actions are so governed by love that it is enough to push through the adversity of the early years. This trait is evident when Brad struggles to find a strong railroad job, and Rachel turns down a promotion to raise her kids as best she can. Although centered around Rachel and Brad, the story is also a testament to unconditional love and relationships.

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