Shadows Over Texas
by Kat Kelly

"For the first time in my life, I realized that there was another life besides abject poverty."

As a female growing up in Texas during the Great Depression, Sonya not only struggles with the strain of hunger and loss, but she also endures a cyclical pattern of abuse. Beginning with the cruel treatment the main character receives from her stepfather, this fictional memoir depicts the resiliency of a young woman coming of age in a dark and evolving world. Though the odds are stacked against her, Sonya possesses the resiliency to vacate these storm cloud situations in search of healthier relationships, a better life, and a more realized self. With the persistent choice to move forward, she discovers personal freedom, strength, and self-worth through education and religion. As rays of sunlight begin to peak through the shadows of her experiences, and as she learns to help herself, she gains the ability to begin assisting others as well.

Kelly has written a courageously honest novel with a large scope, revealing Sonya’s progress from a lost child to a self-sufficient woman. She includes how Sonya is affected by a patriarchal society and pivotal historical moments during an era of shifting economic standards. However, this vast timeline occasionally interferes with the ease at which information is relayed. Due to the narration jumping from past to present, and often without explanation, the action of a scene is regularly paused, and always determining the current time period in the text can be difficult. Many shadows spread over Sonya throughout the course of her life, yet she grows from financial dependence and depravity to independence and economic success. Sonya’s story is one of overcoming life’s most difficult trials in order to develop a solid foundation for healing and, ultimately, self-love.

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