From the award-winning author of Change Me into Zeus's Daughter comes this compelling memoir about a single mother determined to break the patterns that she has been taught. Barbara Robinette Moss grew up in the red clay hills of Alabama, the fourth of eight children, in a childhood defined by close sibling alliances, staggering poverty, and uncommon abuse at the hands of her wild-eyed, charismatic, alcoholic father. In Fierce, Moss looks at what happens when a child of such a family grows up. At once poetic and plainspoken, Moss, a "powerful writer" (Chicago Tribune), paints a vivid, moving portrait of her persistent quest to reinvent her life and rebel against the rural indigence, addiction, and broken dreams she inherited from her parents. With warmth, insight, and candor, Moss tells the poignant story of finally leaving everything she knew in Alabama to fulfill her ambition to become an artist. It is an odyssey filled with gritty improvisation (bringing her son, Jason, to her night job to sleep on the floor), bittersweet pragmatism (filling her purse on a dinner date with shrimp, rolls, and even a doily, to bring home to a waiting eight-year-old), and staunch conviction and pride (chasing a mail carrier down the street to defend her use of food stamps). As with many other children of alcoholics, the legacy of her father's alcoholism catches up with Moss, and an abusive relationship -- an inheritance and addiction of its own sort -- threatens to destroy all that she has accomplished. But as Moss learns to cope with her anger and pain, parenthood helps her discover true strength. Ultimately, Fierce is a warm, honest, and triumphant story, from a writer celebrated for her Southern lyricism, about a woman determined to make it on her own -- to shrug off the handicaps of her childhood and raise her son responsibly and well.