The Last Leaf
In this colorful memoir, Mary Alice Ranieri accomplishes not only a life story but a preview into a family tree that roots from Cherokee and Irish ancestry. She fondly describes growing up during the Depression with six siblings, an ill mother, and a soon-single father—which, from her optimistic outlook, is a coin with two sides. Her brothers are drafted for the war, and later, she loses her sister to another kind of battle. Mary tells the tales of two marriages, her spiritual awakening, living as a temporary expatriate in China and India, and her fondness for animals. She witnesses the world’s largest earthquake and makes numerous encounters with people of different nations and beings of other worlds. This poignant, nonlinear narrative is written with the artistry of one with natural creativity and with the accepting and perceptive voice of a woman who lives to be the last leaf of the family tree.