Singing Out Loud—a book from Marilee Eaves

Book review by Barbara Glass  ~ 

Mardi Gras is an annual pre-Lenten event celebrated in many places on “Fat Tuesday”, but no city defines it like New Orleans. With hundreds of years of French cultural underpinning, Mardi Gras is the raison d’etre of New Orleans society, a fusion of Christianity and old Southern and French families.  The entire social season is planned around the marvelous happenings of Mardi Gras.

Singing Out Loud is a memoir by Marilee Eaves, a woman who is stifled by the old social customs and seeks definition in the new.   Her 1950’s childhood took place when all upper-class families had long-time “Negro” help who wore gray uniforms with white aprons. Generations of her relatives belonged to various “krewes” where the daughters made their debuts while serving as queens and court members at multiple winter balls leading up to Mardi Gras. Marliee’s life was expected to follow this pattern.

Her unease with familial expectations was complicated by a diagnosis of bipolar disorder while in college. Interrupted by periods of depression and anxiety during adulthood, it was difficult for Marilee to separate these episodes from the emotional anguish resulting from her steps to separate from tradition. In spite of these complications, Marilee was able to focus keenly on advancing her education, establishing a meaningful career, achieving excellence in areas of interest while developing loving relationships.

Marilee’s journey is a story of the emotional toll of breaking with family traditions, the perseverance to forge a new direction and the resilience to weather the storm. Against the backdrop of a New Orleans cleansed by Hurricane Katrina, Singing Out Loud is a testament to women defining their authentic selves and finding joy in the journey.

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