Michelle Adams (soon to be Rawlings) - Michelle Adams Blog
When I was in college, I took a course called “American Autobiography.” From Mary Rowlandson to Ben Franklin to Harriet Jacobs to Ernest Hemingway, that class exposed me to what must have been at least a dozen stunning, thought-provoking memoirs. That was one of my earliest experiences examining creative nonfiction, but it helped engrain my love for the genre.
I adore creative nonfiction for its unmatched ability to provide a backdrop on history. I have always considered memoirists to be journalists, anthropologists, and social commentators. Their accounts are at times some of the most valuable sources of insight into the past — and the present. It is through this lens that I read Sandra Pimentel’s Blind Acceptance, and I must say that Pimentel held her weight against the pack.
Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast (the restored edition, of course) is my favorite autobiography of all time, because each moment that Hemingway provides gives me another snapshot into his life in the mid-twentieth century. These snapshots transported me to Paris and all over the world, following Hemingway and co. wherever their little artistic hearts took them. And Pimentel’s Blind Acceptance shows me life in America during that time.
You see, while Hemingway was in Paris, drinking and gambling his life away, Pimentel’s parents were growing up as immigrants in the United States; “Pamp” was meeting Dorothy and wooing her.
While Hemingway was wasting away his days with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Pimentel was gearing up to fight through the trials of an ever-evolving marriage.
And in the time since the end of Hemingway’s discombobulated collection of events, Pimentel has struggled with an ever-changing American culture that routinely cycles through various values and prejudices — from race to gender.
But instead of seeing all of this through the eyes of a Nobel Prize-winning icon, Blind Acceptancetakes us through the mid-to-late twentieth century United States through the eyes of the average American, making for what is, arguably, a more valuable account of history and pop culture.
And if a modern memoir can hold its own against Hemingway, that has to be saying something. Pimentel’s autobiography is real and raw. Her unapologetic honesty is evident. But what sets her apart is her dedication to consistency and values.
Throughout her narrative, she weaves an appreciation for family together with a mindset of perseverance. This thread is unwavering and, frankly, classy.
Her continuous cycle of rises and falls mimics the circle of life, and her modernizing of the past brings history alive for us. And yet still, the book might read to some as a narrative genealogy; a family history, if you will.
All of this imagery, context, and storytelling? In nonfiction? If you’re reading Blind Acceptance, the answer is yes.
I stand behind my claim; Hemingway’s autobiography will always remain my favorite work of creative nonfiction. But there is something to be said about a narrative that could complement the work of an unchallenged literary genius so well.
Pimentel’s Blind Acceptance gives a story to those who are often silenced and a voice to those who are often forgotten. It speaks to American immigrants, to wives, to mothers, and to social activists spanning three generations.
All in all, its unique, heart-wrenching account of twentieth century America is worth appreciating and studying. Without the anthropological work of writers like Pimentel, the stories of the non-glamorous would go on unnoticed — which is nothing sort of a literary and historical crime.
Reading Blind Acceptance transported me to another era of American history, and if you’re looking to escape to a simpler time, I would absolutely recommend Sandra Pimentel’s autobiography. It’s high time we take it slow and remember the good times — and the bad — that made us who were are today.
Lizzi Newton - Between the Beats
Often memoirs are dry re-tellings of a person’s life. This is not true of Sandra Pimentel’s beautifully written Blind Acceptance. Beginning with her early years in Quincy, Massachusetts, Pimentel paints a picture of a multi-ethnic neighborhood in the 1940’s. Surrounded by her large, Italian family, she was blissfully unaware of the war that was being fought on distant shores or the poverty of her family. Her memories of those early years are filled with the joy a small child feels when secure in life.
As the author relates the stories of her parents and their heritage, she reveals a family background that sets the tone for her childhood. In those years women had assigned roles; wives and mothers responsible for raising and caring for a family and maintaining the home. Women’s lives revolved around their duties, responsibilities they not only accepted but took pleasure in. Growing up at a time when extended families remained close gave Pimentel a solid and secure base.
When the book moves forward past World War II, societal changes begin to impact Pimentel’s world. While her foundation was firm, the dramatic movements of the sixties impacted her views of the world at large. Following her growth in a world rocked by political upheavals like the Viet Nam war, the rise of feminism, the struggles against racism, the reader travels the rocky road with her. Her story straddles the post war recovery and the rise of political and societal awareness.
Pimentel’s marriage to her husband Paul, the births of her children, and the moves to another state and back to Massachusetts show her strength of character and determination inherited from her early roots. Growing from a young woman in a world where people knew their neighbors and women’s roles were clearly defined to a society in tumult the author holds a lens through which the reader can vicariously experience the changes. Moving into a generation when women not only found their voices but were encouraged to shout out loud, Pimentel becomes an advocate for societal changes. Along with her husband, she raised her children and reached out beyond her close-knit family to motivate positive change for those less fortunate.
It is evident to the reader that the lessons of her early years provided the strength and courage needed to move forward and reach out to others as she grew older. This is a moving expression of a woman’s life well lived. As she navigates the often-difficult years, she retains the values of her forebears.
Blind Acceptance is a masterpiece; a moving exploration of the intricacies of life. I highly recommend it, especially for those of us who lived through the sixties forward. There is something everyone can relate to and an inspiration for future generations who will experience changes of their own. https://elizabethnnewton.com/2017/12/20/blind-acceptance-by-sandra-pimentel/
Jacy Topps, in Manhattan With a Twist
I’m not sure what I was expecting when I started to read Blind Acceptance, but what I do know is that the story blew me away. Written by Sandra Pimentel, the memoir takes readers on a journey through her childhood, the evolution of her marriage, her relationship with religion and how she navigates through the cultural complexities of the last half of the twentieth century.
Joan Kriegstein, board member Vineyard Playhouse
I need to thank you for YOUR BOOK. What a wonderful, wonderful story of hope, time and passage of time, of growth, of understanding of one’s self.
It is ultimately a story that lets one truly into seeing how change happens, and how a life flows. Your past, your life, the love and experiences you have had in this single life time are so rich.
Mache Seibel, MD, Author of the best-selling book The Estrogen Window
Sandy Pimentel's new book, Blind Acceptance, is so well written and packed with twists and turns that it reads more like a novel than a memoir. Throughout the text she weaves the through line of her life – live abundantly, love fully, and be an active participant in life. I believe her story will capture your heart; it did mine.
John H. Kennedy, Boston University lecturer and former Boston Globe journalist
Sandra Pimentel's searingly honest memoir takes readers on a journey through a fascinating life dedicated to compassion, creativity, and–above all–family.
Jewelle Taylor Gibbs, PhD, Author of Destiny's Child
Sandra Pimentel, a young woman from an Italian working-class family, actively participating in community organizations, becomes ever more aware and angry over racial and social inequalities in American society. Blind Acceptance is a tribute to the enduring human spirit. Ms. Pimentel's unconditional acceptance encompasses the multitudes fortunate enough to venture into her warm and welcoming orbit.
Juliette E. Fay, Executive Director, Martha's Vineyard Community Services
Blind Acceptance captures the story of Sandy Pimentel, caught between the generation of women expected to toe the line and the next generation who demanded that the feminine voice be heard. Driven by her reliable natural instinct, Sandy blew past all the norms once dictated by family, religion, and the status quo.
Jess Weaver, writer for 'Kelly's Thoughts on Everything'
Are you looking for a book to read this winter? I have come across a true jewel in the reading world and it’s called Blind Acceptance. Let’s just say that I love where this book starts and where it ends. From the start of the book, you are roped into the author’s authorship. She has a great way of bringing you into the story and getting you hooked. This is a must read this holiday season. Don’t just run to Amazon.com to grab your copy, do it now! You’ll want to have your copies in hand before the holiday season hits. I don’t want to give away everything on Blind Acceptance, but here are some things you should know about the book!
A MEMOIR BY SANDRA PIMENTEL
By Tanirocker on March 22, 2017
I came to this book in a roundabout way. Sandra Pimentel's oldest and youngest daughters, Lisa and Joannie, make up two-thirds of the band No Small Children, and I'm a fan of their music. When I found out that their mother had written a book, I thought, "What the heck...I'll give it a shot." What a lovely surprise! This book is not only the story of one woman's journey, it is the saga of how life changed in America during the last half of the 20th century. As Sandra navigated life at the intersection of large extended families, one Italian and one Portuguese, the country raged and roiled over the changes brought about by the demands of rights for women and minorities. She celebrates the progress that's been made while giving an unflinching look at the suffering that accompanied it. We all know the big picture, but this book shows you vignettes of what was happening on that small stage, at the Sunday dinner table.
By Dee (Diantha Tarbox) Pomfreton February 6, 2017
This is a book about a life well lived. Beautifully written Sandra gives voice to many of the thoughts & feelings young women experienced in a changing time in society. She covers times when the cold light of reality pulls us up short, then adds humor that leaves you giggling. It's her story but for those in the high school class of 1960 we understand it like kindred soles. As a classmate of Sandy & Paul's I'm so happy to meet them again by re- visiting this period of life with them from this point in time.
By M.W. on March 13, 2017
Blind Acceptance is a memoir about a life bursting with LIFE! Pimentel is a natural storyteller whose writing reads like she's sitting across the table from me, two friends sharing the joys and challenges of life over a great bottle of red and pasta. I want to KNOW this woman. I want her faith in people's goodness and huge heartedness to rub off on me. Thank you for Blind Acceptance, a much needed balm during these troubling times. Pimentel's recollections feel like ten lives wrapped into one and exemplify living life with courage, love, conviction and truly making a difference. Brava!!
By Barbara Daiute on October 10, 2016
Wonderful story about marriage and mothering in the sixties. Not what you expect!! Funny, sad, and full of so much that hits home!!
Sandra did what you do to keep your marriage strong, even with 4 kids, born very close together, and that isn't easy. It was funny, sad, and full of memories of how things were back then. She got involved in her community, wherever that was, and made life better for others, and at times found it and uphill battle.
I loved how she explains her self doubts, and worked thru them.
Very much enjoyed this book!
By annb on January 16, 2017
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a well-written, heartfelt book that touches on so many issues that we continue to grapple with like racism and feminism, among others. The author's voice is self-aware and self deprecating and she tells a good story with humor and emotion as she recounts her life. Her and her husband's ability to continually examine their beliefs and actions is inspiring as is their commitment to helping others.
By Holly M. Nadler on December 25, 2016
A wonderful memoir about achieving a life in which the main goal is helping others. Very inspiring in this troubling times when all of us must learn to put others ahead of ourselves. Ms Pimentel is a natural-born writer and teller of tales.
By Constance Turner on October 19, 2016
Sandra did a wonderful job of capturing the 1940's and 1950's. It was interesting from beginning to end. I totally enjoyed it.
By LisaParade on September 29, 2016
Someone in my book club recommended we read this and I was totally blown away. It made me cry and laugh out loud. It is beautifully written and I totally relate to her story. We had deep lasting discussions at our BC meeting. I can't recommend this book enough. #sleeper
By JP Masson on October 6, 2016
This is an incredible story about an amazing family, and of the complexities faced by a woman traversing through the challenges of racism, social injustice, and the evolution of her role in the world. It's a seriously great read and I couldn't put it down.
By R.W.D on October 7, 2016
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A well written, impressive story of a woman who moves through one crisis after another, and yet is able to see the bright side of every event.