A daughter’s memoir of her mother evolves beautifully into a narrative of the far-reaching changes in women’s lives in the twentieth century.
With the sweep of an epic novel, Our Revolution follows Jenny Moore, a charismatic and brilliant woman whose life changed as she became engaged in the great twentieth-century movements for peace and social justice. Born into Boston society in 1923 and the first woman in her family to go to college, she set aside writing ambitions to marry Paul Moore, a decorated war hero who became Bishop Paul Moore. Together they had nine children—"I wanted a baseball team," Jenny said, "or a small orchestra."
Rejecting a conventional path, the Moores moved to an inner-city parish in Jersey City and began their family while collaborating on a socially radical, multiracial ministry. In 1968, Jenny published her first book. "Everything was just starting," she protested—meaning an independent life inspired in part by the new feminist movement—when she was diagnosed with cancer at fifty.
Jenny bequeathed to her eldest daughter, Honor, then a twenty-seven-year-old poet, her unfinished writing. As Honor pursued her own career as a writer, she was haunted by her mother’s bequest. Decades later, she delves into Jenny’s pages and forges a new relationship with the passionate seeker and truth teller she finds there. Our Revolution is a vivid, absorbing account of two women navigating the twentieth century and a daughter’s story of the mother who shaped her life as an artist and a woman.
About the Author
Honor Moore is the author of two previous memoirs—The Bishop’s Daughter, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and The White Blackbird, a New York Times Notable Book—as well as three collections of poems. She lives in New York City.
In Moore’s supremely capable hands, what began as a labor of love and filial duty expands into a dazzling epic portrait of a fascinating American family and a mother-daughter story unlike any other. A superb feat of empathetic imagination and meticulous historical reconstruction, full of drama, passion, and the deepest wisdom.
— Sigrid Nunez, National Book Award–winning author of The Friend
Our Revolution begins with the sudden, catastrophic death of a mother and ends only when that mother has been returned to vibrant, textured life by her memoirist and poet daughter. Here is that emergence, beautifully recorded, documented, and envisioned as feminist art and American history.
— Margo Jefferson, National Book Critics Circle Award-winning author of Negroland
Our Revolution is a tour de force of a memoir, one that describes Honor Moore’s upper-crust background and difficult relationship with her mother with equal parts tenderness and rigor. It will have something to say to anyone who has wondered at the mysteries of family lineage and the vexed journey to becoming an individual while holding on to a larger identity as a sibling and daughter.
— Daphne Merkin, author of This Close to Happy
The revolutionary insight of this remarkable book arises from the discovery that for Honor Moore and her mother, turning in to their writer selves was also a turning to each other. Gripping and profoundly moving, Our Revolution is also a signal contribution to feminism.
— Carol Gilligan, coauthor of Why Does Patriarchy Persist?
Honor Moore’s vivid, compassionate, scrupulously honest portrait of her mother deftly charts the complex entanglements of family love, need, and pain. But this memoir-biography is also an intimate history of the ideas and events that jolted America during the three decades that followed the Second World War. The gaping rifts of class, race, and sex that set the country on fire then are still burning. Our Revolution is a book about those times for our times.
— Siri Hustvedt, author of Memories of the Future
Our Revolution is the poignant book that Honor Moore was destined to write: a passionate biographical memoir that uncovers, almost five decades after her mother’s death, a tale of family, faith, and fortitude—and of human rights, religion, and women, of mothers and daughters struggling to find themselves and each other against a midcentury backdrop of tumultuous change, uncertainty, and abiding love. Compassionate, genuine, hard to put down, it’s also a tale for today, not to be missed.
— Brenda Wineapple