Often memoirs are dry re-tellings of a person’s life. This is not true of Sandra Pimentel’s beautifully written Blind Acceptance. Beginning with her early years in Quincy, Massachsetts, Pimentel paints a picture of a multi-ethnic neighborhood in the 1940’s. Surrounded by her large, Italian family, she was blissfully unaware of the war that was being fought on distant shores or the poverty of her family. Her memories of those early years are filled with the joy a small child feels when secure in life.
As the author relates the stories of her parents and their heritage, she reveals a family background that sets the tone for her childhood. In those years women had assigned roles; wives and mothers responsible for raising and caring for a family and maintaining the home. Women’s lives revolved around their duties, responsibilities they not only accepted but took pleasure in. Growing up at a time when extended families remained close gave Pimentel a solid and secure base.
When the book moves forward past World War II, societal changes begin to impact Pimentel’s world. While her foundation was firm, the dramatic movements of the sixties impacted her views of the world at large. Following her growth in a world rocked by political upheavals like the Viet Nam war, the rise of feminism, the struggles against racism, the reader travels the rocky road with her. Her story straddles the post war recovery and the rise of political and societal awareness.
Pimentel’s marriage to her husband Paul, the births of her children, and the moves to another state and back to Massachusetts show her strength of character and determination inherited from her early roots. Growing from a young woman in a world where people knew their neighbors and women’s roles were clearly defined to a society in tumult the author holds a lens through which the reader can vicariously experience the changes. Moving into a generation when women not only found their voices but were encouraged to shout out loud, Pimentel becomes an advocate for societal changes. Along with her husband, she raised her children and reached out beyond her close-knit family to motivate positive change for those less fortunate.
It is evident to the reader that the lessons of her early years provided the strength and courage needed to move forward and reach out to others as she grew older. This is a moving expression of a woman’s life well lived. As she navigates the often-difficult years, she retains the values of her forebears.
Blind Acceptance is a masterpiece; a moving exploration of the intricacies of life. I highly recommend it, especially for those of us who lived through the sixties forward. There is something everyone can relate to and an inspiration for future generations who will experience changes of their own.