... an essential read for all women to understand their power and freedom, and those societies which may aim to take it away.
K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
[cont.] "In a world where we are presented with the illusion of gender equality but not the full reality, it is insightful and important to be able to look back on other ways of living and recognize the patterns that we have not yet broken. Author Joan Brooks Baker certainly does this, whilst also delivering a tale of empowerment at a time when such things were much less talked about. The depictions of behavior and expectations are subtly recollected and layered in detail and nuance, which slowly builds the picture of oppression rather than explicitly telling it. This is a far more emotive and evocative skill in memoir writing, and here it serves a truly inspirational purpose."
...one woman's story of walking the line between traditional expectations and modern individualism.... this work shows the balance between womanhood, feminism, coming-of-age, and differing cultures.
Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
[cont.] "... the author doesn't shy away from honesty when she describes interactions, customs, and differences among the people she meets and places she visits. Joan Brooks Baker has good insight into herself and the forces and people that shaped her, and a bird's-eye objectivity that is refreshing. She isn't afraid to explain the hows and whys of her life and those around her. Another refreshing aspect is her use of photos, which helps the story come alive in the minds of readers. They help you get a sense of place, time, and relationships and also lend to the feeling that you're browsing through someone's family album or scrapbook. The touches of humor are welcome as well. Regardless of who you are or where you come from, The Magnolia Code by Joan Brooks Baker can help you connect with yourself and others in your life as you try to find your place in the world."
...a beautifully written memoir about a young girl trying to make sense of her thoughts and feelings in a world where she was expected to conform to the rule book. The journey and experiences she had were not only fascinating but a lesson to everyone to live their lives fully and follow their hearts.
Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite
[cont.] "The characters were created with so much care and consideration, their personalities leaped off the page. Many of the characters I would have loved to have met in person, especially Isaiah and Joan's grandparents. The stories the characters told around major events in history were especially compelling. The author, through the amazing characters, brought historical events to life and transported you into a world where racism and injustice were thought acceptable. This is a book that every young girl should read because to discover their true self, to follow their dreams, and to celebrate their uniqueness gives life true meaning."
...in confronting her white privilege, parent’s tumultuous marriage, racial injustices, and a life entrenched in southern codes, she takes us on her conscious journey to wholeness.
~~ A friend
[cont.] It is a captivating memoir and Joan is certainly gifted as “a photographer writing”...I love her adventurous spirit and all the characters she meets along the way... above all mischievous, Aunt Billie and visitations with the Black Madonnas.