“1978. The year I turned ten and the year my mama killed herself. She was thirty-five, and dying is the last thing that should have been on her mind.”
After the death of her mother, Sylvia Butler’s father, a man she knows only from an old photo, takes her from Louisville, Kentucky to Ozark, Alabama to live with his family. But his wife resents everything about this intruder, from her out-of-wedlock conception to her dark skin and nappy hair.When the wife’s younger brother Charles returns from Vietnam, Sylvia thinks she has found a friend and confidante, only to be hurt again, but this time, in a manner she never could have imagined. Set under the backdrop of the Deep South in the 70s and 80s, this coming of age story of redemption and grace follows Sylvia in her journey from awkward girl to confident young woman, at last standing on her own.
"I was utterly haunted by the protagonist of Angela Jackson-Brown's beautiful debut novel, Drinking from a Bitter Cup. If ever a character has reason to be bitter or jaded, ten-year-old Sylvia Butler is it, but instead she will level you with her strength, her courage, and her tenacious grip on hope." --Katrina Kittle, The Kindness of Strangers
"In Drinking from a Bitter Cup, the challenges and revelations of Sylvia Butler's life become her inheritance...delivered in Angela Jackson-Brown's evocative prose, textured with beauty and weight." --Ravi Howard, Like Trees, Walking
"Riveting throughout, with a harrowing climax, Drinking from a Bitter Cup is a deeply moving, voice-rich novel about the ways in which we find resilience even in the most traumatic situations. An impressive debut indeed." --K.L. Cook, Love Songs for the Quarantined and Last Call
"Superbly crafted. . . .A necessary read for all." --Adriena Dame, The Moo: Stories and a Novella
"There are many lessons to be found in this powerful book, perhaps none as profound as the one our heroine learns over the course of her journey: that the ultimate form of love is survival, which she does with dignity and grace. This story of heartache, longing, loss, and faith is a wonderful novel, one whose voices will remain in your head long after you read the final lines." --Rachel Harper, Brass Ankle Blues: A Novel