Growing Up Mad in the South is set in Atlanta, GA, during the 1950s and 60s, when racism, sexism, and personal salvation were lurking behind “well bless your heart.” Diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 17, the Mad narrator struggles with both her aberrant senses and righteous anger at a society that fails to value everyone. From a toddler learning language to an adolescent trying on love, she emerges into a young adult who finds her vocation writing for a college literary magazine. With a widowed Methodist mother and a protective Hard-Shell Baptist granny, the narrator’s upbringing is shaped by the lyrics of gospel music. Bonnie Schell manages to confront “Should,” “Keep Quiet,” and “White Only” with laughter and lyricism.
Bonnie Schell’s memoirs of growing up in Atlanta are included in the anthologies, What Does It Mean to be White in America?: A Collection of Personal Narratives, The Unbroken Circle: Stories of Cultural Diversity in the South, and WNC Woman. Her poetry has been featured in Coastlines: Six Santa Cruz Poets and in Knut House Press: The Insanity Edition. Bonnie was co-editor of On Our Own Together: Peer Programs for People with Mental Illness. A graduate of Agnes Scott College, she has an M.A. from Arizona State University. After 30 years in California, where she owned a yarn shop and then worked as executive director of a drop-in center, she returned to the south to continue her advocacy and writing and now lives in Asheville, NC. For more, please visit bonnieschellauthor.com.
Her voice is brave, ready, shocking, hilarious, poetic and astute… [she] crawls into the taboo… and casts a critical eye on society.Nina Hart, author of Somewhere in a Town You Never Knew Existed Somewhere.