"Goodlife, Mississippi" chronicles the first twelve years--1950 to 1962--of Mary "Myra" Boone, a questionably biracial young Southern girl of the sixties. The setting of the novel begins in Meridian, Mississippi, and then moves onto the fictional city of Goodlife. Eileen Saint Lauren captures the experience of growing up in "pockets" of a regressive and repressive Southern culture. The novel is truth mixed with magical realism achieved by the constant threading of the ordinary with the extraordinary, supernatural, and the sublime.
A sequence of linked stories comprises events in Myra Boone's life. Myra persists through extreme adversities because of her dream of meeting Ray Charles Robinson and her natural sense of place in the grand scheme of life: her true calling. Though her scars--inside and out--will remain, she emerges a young woman of compassion with a self-forged faith in the underlying goodness of the universe and her value in the world. And in having Myra Boone prevail, Saint Lauren leaves the reader contemplating the resilience of the human soul far beyond the pages of her novel.
"Goodlife, Mississippi," includes a Study Guide.