With sparkling prose and a fine eye for detail, Jones easily pulls readers into her engaging narrative. “Hurricane Agnes and the flood of 1972 changed communities, people, and families in ways that they could never have imagined. This is the story of one such family,” she writes, noting that her family lived in their HUD trailer for two years before moving to a hillside home in nearby Kingston. In the aftermath of the disaster, Jones comes to realize how resilient she is, making the best of her new situation: the family soon welcomes a baby sister as a bright spot among the disaster, finds joy with new friends and a loving and feisty babysitter, and eventually moves into a family home that will never flood again.
Jones recounts her new circumstances with a child’s frankness, eschewing pity for herself or her siblings, and her descriptions alternate between laugh-out-loud funny and heartbreakingly sad. She chooses to see much of her ordeal through a lens of childhood wonder and naiveté that will resonate with readers, and her writing beautifully defines a family making the best of lemonades out of tragic, sour lemons. Readers who love coming-of-age stories will devour Jones’s moving and well-paced memoir.
Takeaway: A touching memoir that chronicles a childhood upended by a natural disaster.
Great for fans of: Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones, Gary Rivlin’s Katrina: After the Flood.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A
Suzanne created an atmospheric story of natural disaster and through the eyes of her six-year-old that took me right back to my own experiences. This slice of life takes readers back to a time of innocence, where kindergartners could walk several blocks to their neighborhood school by themselves, without parents helicoptering their every move, orchestrating their social lives and solving their problems. Only in the most extreme cases was parental involvement necessary. We were independent, able to negotiate conflict and resilient from those experiences.
Written with self-deprecating humor, Little Suzanne doesn’t realize how uniquely perfect she is. Through her family’s struggles to rebuilt, she grows to stand in her own glory. I laughed, shed a few tears and cheered on her family. If I were to write my own story of the flood, Suzanne would be my best friend’s little sister, the girl who made me wish for a sister my whole life.
If you’re interested in coming-of-age memoirs, the 1970s or feminism FROM THE FLOOD is the book for you.
From the Flood’s focus on living in the moment, the joys of friendship and healing power of connection is a huge reminder that the worst of times for an adult can be the best of times for a child. The author vividly captures the authentic voice and perspective of her childhood and provides an important lesson about trauma and resilience. I’m grateful for the opportunity to read this gem - it’s the perfect book to remind us of what’s important right now.
Suzanne Jones's memoir is a beautiful book. It is entertaining, informative and thought-provoking. Sue's attention to detail brought my past to life in a way I wasn't expecting. While thankfully I have not lived through a flood, I could definitely relate to many of her childhood experiences. These include the confusion of being a child, the excitement of rummaging through cereal to find the toy wrapped in plastic, sibling rivalry, the importance of friends and the impact of being seen, heard, listened to and loved. Sue's book is one of resilience, courage, love and hope. I look forward to seeing it on the big screen!
A wonderful read! Tender and funny, delightfully entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable. A moment in time, captured in exquisite detail. The author transports us into her childhood world. Even those without a personal connection to the author or the events described can find humor and wisdom in this book. It isn't often anymore that a book keeps me up past my bedtime to read "just one more chapter," but this one did. The way the author captures the voice and perspective of her childhood self is simply extraordinary. A combination of one person's unique perspective, well told, and universal truths we can all relate to (such as the confusion kids feel when hearing conversation about "grown up" things, the impressions they form with limited information and the fervent hopes and strong feelings that adults just don't understand). A fascinating character study of the way one family dealt with a traumatic event and the ways different members of the family dealt with the aftermath differently, based on their age, their role in the family and world, and their individual temperament and priorities.
Every time I picked up this memoir, I felt like I was being wrapped up in a snuggly blanket. Reading about little Suzie's experiences through her eyes created a rich, warm world filled with family, friendships, and the pure innocence of childhood. The bonds created between Suzie and her friends were a reminder of the tremendous healing power in love, imagination, and creativity.
From the Flood is a powerful reminder of how the very best parts of living this human life often exist at the same time as the hardest. By bringing us into her seven year old mind during a natural disaster and its aftermath, Sue Jones illuminates the essential role of connection in healing and resilience building. She reminds us (with all the joy, irritation, and unfiltered honestly of childhood) that play is a path to peace, and that a few moments of attuned attention from a loved one can give us extraordinary strength even in the midst of overwhelming challenges.
Reading this book was a joy, an unexpected source of support, an invitation to revisit my own childhood voice, and a nudge to open my heart wider to the possibilities of the present moment — for myself and my children.
Written through the eyes of six-year-old girl, we embark on Suzie’s innocent journey as she navigates her way through the loss of her home, complicated family relationships, friendships, and religion. We empathize with an uprooted, young girl, riddled with self-doubt and perceived imperfections, as she persists through judgment and loss. We embrace the clumsiness of Suzie’s drenched wings; we are inspired by her as she ultimately rises from the flood as a wet, resilient, soaring Phoenix.
David Eggers once said that the world can be divided into two types of people - those who see the world through the eyes of children and those who do not. Thanks to Suzanne’s account of her childhood journey in the aftermath of Hurricane Agnes, we all get to vicariously experience what full catastrophe living is really about. As a person who has worked with children and families who have survived both acute and chronic trauma - I gained more perspective from this wise and beautiful seven-year-old than I learned from many experts in the field.