Cleage's daughter has never wanted to read her mother's diaries, and after she vetoes Cleage's plan to leave them to her granddaughter, Cleage revisits her lifelong journal to understand why it matters so much to her. The result is this "representative sample" covering the 1970s and the 1980s, when Cleage was in her twenties and thirties and living in Atlanta. Now a celebrated playwright, screenwriter, and best-selling, Oprah-pick novelist ("Till You Hear from Me", 2010), Cleage provides no context for her razor-edge journal entries. Instead, the reader leaps into a tempestuous, in-progress chronicle in which Cleage tells herself, "Best grab your own life and run with it." Cleage struggles with complicated questions about race and gender that remain urgent and complex today. She writes about concerts (Bruce Springsteen, Grace Jones),
movies ("Saturday Night Fever"), and books (Betty Friedan, Judy Chicago, Henry Miller, Alice Walker). She parses her stressful work as press secretary for Atlanta's first black mayor, Maynard Jackson, and enjoys the demands of writing a newspaper column. She keeps track of the news, pens vivid street scenes, revels in becoming a mother, smokes pot, gets divorced, takes lovers, performs poetry, travels, worries, and vows "TO BE VERY BOLD." Cleage's extraordinary experiences, deep social concerns, passionate self-analysis, and personal and artistic liberation, all so openly confided, make for a highly charged, redefining read.