Interspersed through her short pages are family snapshots - fat grinning girls in frilly dresses, slack-breasted and exhausted women, wary-eyed young men, their hair slicked back, sitting in a honky-tonk - which underline her words all the more. Although there is an emphasis on the harshness of the women's lives ("The women in my family? We are the ones in all those photos taken at mining disasters, floods, fires ..."), she knows that the men, too, had their misery: "The tragedy of the men in my family was silence, a silence veiled by boasting and jokes. If you didn't look close you might miss the sharp glint of pain in their eyes ...".
As her story moves on, the snaps change to show the serious, long-haired girl Allison became as she moved to a feminist collective and recognised her lesbianism, then to a new and different family grouping with her own son. ("Two or three things I know for sure, and one is that I would rather go naked than wear the coat the world made for me.") It's a fine triumph over a crushing legacy, and a fine account of that triumph.Reuse content