Letter from Alabama is a powerful memoir of the author's life, and documents what happened when, as an infant, his mother dies and his father later abandons him at a young age, leaving him with an Alabama woman who, desperate to find any relatives, takes a big leap of faith in mailing a letter to a newspaper in a distant state asking for help in locating the family.
The leap paid off, relatives emerged, and thus little David's life was diverted from its dangerous trajectory into a life where half-brothers and other family stepped in to raise him.
More than just an autobiography of survival, Letter from Alabama offers up family history and a social history of the 20th century, blends in insights into family connections and the process of accepting and rearing a wayward child, and maintains a steady combination of historical review juxtaposed with personal revelation in the course of considering blended families, broken homes, and choices.
Make no mistake: all this is relayed in the context of a family history; so readers who want the history without the intimacy should look elsewhere. Letter from Alabama is a study in miracles and circumstance: as much as it adds intriguing elements about small-town color, it's ultimately about how a young boy emerges from uncertain roots to become a successful man. Readers interested in blended family interactions and a successful emergence from a broken home situation will relish Workman's vivid writing and experiences.