Searching for Nannie B.

  • by Nancy Owen Nelson
  • Narrated by Lee Ann Howlett
  • 3 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

How would you be affected if your mother died giving your life? And how would such a loss affect your children? These questions are the foundation of many issues raised by the author in her search for the missing pieces of a grandmother who in 1905 died giving the author's mother life. It was a tragedy that seemed to affect multiple generations, the voids in identity and ill-spent guilt flowing from the stream of blood that kept mother from daughter, and then from granddaughter. But it was a search well-spent.
The Reverend Roger Mohr, First Unitarian Universalist Church of Detroit, may have said it best. "Often the tapestry of family history does not seem to offer us the sort of clarity about who we have become, and why. And sometimes the narrative tells us a story about ourselves that we do not wish to accept."
Nancy Owen Nelson's search resulted in raising more questions about herself, even as it answered questions about her mysterious grandmother. Nonetheless, in the end her journey toward discovery was one of startling self-awareness and connection. No matter whether you feel connected or lost in family, you will be unable to avoid the heartfelt pleasure and pain that comes from the author's brave attempt to connect three generations of Southern women.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Connecting the dots between family

I thought this book was really interesting, and I think that most people who research family history will enjoy this. I found that I related to the author's desire not to lose her name, as this is something I struggled with when I got married - feeling I was losing my identity. The author searches for information about her grandmother, Nannie B., who died giving birth and was never mentioned again. In her search for her grandmother, she learns more about herself. I listened to the Audible version and enjoyed the narration. The narrator was engaging and kept me interested.
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- Leslie F.

Interesting Search for Great Grandmother

I really liked listening to the story of Nancy's search for details about her great-grandmother's life, whose death so impacted her mother's life by her the giant, unspoken void it left but was never talked of. It is a sad, but true, reality that in many cases the young only care about their parents as people and wonder about their lives only after they have passed. The search and its impact on her life was very interesting and I enjoyed those parts of the book.

What I did not care for, so much, is Nancy's political and obvious agenda throughout the book. As a female family 'breadwinner', I think Nancy is missing the point that the traditional family is important in a child's life. Whether it is mom or dad that stays at home, it is important that someone in the immediate family take the time and that the family makes the necessary monetary sacrifice, if necessary, to nurture the couple's children. I am a college educated, certificate holder in my professional field. My husband had no interest in the business world. As such, we made a personal family decision for him to not work when we had children. I could just as easily have been a stay at home mom if my husband were to make more money than me or not want to be a stay at home dad. The point, I believe, is that one of the child's parents be at home, not who it is. In my mind, Nancy Owen Nelson is missing the point of being a woman and a parent and the importance of parental presence in a child's life.

A woman's worth is not defined by the professional position she holds or how many degrees she has attained but by the impact she has on society and future generations. What greater impact can she have but by raising responsible, productive, well adjusted children to lead in the next generation? Children cannot be influenced in a positive way by parents who are absent from the family more than they are home. This leaves the child's value system up for influence by teachers, coaches, and often clergy who have their own agendas to fulfill.

I loved listening to Lee Ann Howlett narrate this audiobook. She nailed the tone for the story Nancy Owen Nelson was telling and the emotional impact it had on her life.

I received this audiobook for free from Audiobook Boom! in exchange for an honest review.
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- Reg "Avid reader who is also a mommy. Audible saved my reading time!"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-31-2016
  • Publisher: Nancy Owen Nelson