Boston Globe review of Leaving the Pink House

The land in Nebraska may be mostly flat, but it’s the sky that matters. “We were erased in that great expanse, and beneath it we knew our place,” writes Ladette Randolph. “We are all but annihilated under the burden of the sky.” In this lyrical, carefully observed memoir, Randolph tells of another burden: the fundamentalist Christianity of her childhood, a harsh faith that pushed her into marriage and from which she escaped, but not without pain.

As the book opens, it’s the day after Sept. 11, 2001, and Randolph and her husband have just bought a wreck of a house in the country. In alternating chapters, she details the renovation and revisits her past; both processes involve demolition and reclamation. In the end, the book’s heart isn’t in its house; it’s in the people Randolph describes, these Nebraskans with “their sly irony, their dry sense of humor, their stubbornness, and their impatience with pretensions of any kind.” by Kate Tuttle