What, what, am I to do with all of this life? Maud Martha Brown is a little girl growing up on the South Side of 1940s Chicago. Amidst the crumbling taverns and overgrown yards, she dreams: of New York, romance, her future. She admires dandelions, learns to drink coffee, falls in love, decorates her kitchenette, visits the Jungly Hovel, guts a chicken, buys hats, gives birth.
But her lighter-skinned husband has dreams too: of the Foxy Cats Club, other women, war. And the ‘scraps of baffled hate’ – a certain word from a saleswoman; that visit to the cinema; the cruelty of a department store Santa Claus- are always there . Written in 1953 but never published in Britain, Maud Martha is a poetic collage of happenings that forms an extraordinary portrait of an ordinary life: one lived with wisdom, humour, protest, rage, dignity, and joy.