Joy Road is the story of four remarkable black women from Woodmere, Goergia (referred to as Bottoms by the locals) and their struggle to survive, to love their men and, to raise their children. As the Great Depression puts forty percent of the country out of work, people sell apples on the streets and comfortable living quarters are traded in for Hoovervilles. Life in the colored section of Woodmere, Georgia reaches rock bottom.
RayMyra and Elaine Elliott are sisters. The differences between them is as stark as their skin color. RayMyra, described as "light bright, almost white," leaves their home town for New York City. Passing for white, she marries a South African diamond mine owner, and straddles two worlds, but finds it difficult being a part-time Negro.
Elaine, a "high-yella gal" runs away from a love triangle and heads for the stages of Hollywood. Along the way to fame and fortune she encounters the low-lifes of the road, losing everything she owns, and making her home in a corrugated Kellogg Corn Flakes box.
Called Aunt Ella by everyone, the sixty-two year old matriarch, has withstood the loss of her children to war, accident, and lynching. Having a life long prejudiced against whites, she takes it upon her shoulders to leave a mark on the world.
May Lee, a high school friend of RaeMyra and Elaine with six children and no husband, remains in Bottoms, Georgia, a district south of Atlanta. Making figurines that are not much more than broken glass and glue, and never believing life would give her anything except more children, she and Aunt Ella rebuild both the town and faith in their fellow man.
RaeMyra, Elaine, Aunt Ella and May Lee have nothing in common and everything in common. They share friendship, bloodlines and the staunch determination to survive whatever life throws at them. With nowhere to go but up, they reach inside themselves and find the strength to survive just one more day.
Joy Road is as thought provoking as the four women who bring it to life. Intensely emotional, Shirley Hailstock's novel explores the depths of family love, showing that time, distance, and life's decisions don't break the bonds of kinship. Prepare to laugh and cry through the pages of Joy Road as this rising star of fiction proves she has a firm place as a new talent in literature.
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