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  • Writer's pictureMilton Davis

Book Review: Ain't No Witch: The Wanderings of Mamma Lucy by John Linwood Grant

Ain’t No Witch by John Linwood Grant is a collection of stories about Mamma Lucy, a skillful hoodoo practitioner roaming the South and East Coast dispensing healing and help during the 1920s. She’s a woman who’s steadfast in her work and doesn’t take any mess, even from the mysterious man that sometimes guides her to her next encounter.

I love this book. Grant has done an excellent job portraying the land and life of the rural South during this time. Mamma Lucy’s forays into Harlem are just as vivid, giving us characters that we connect to immediately. But of course, the star of the show is Mamma Lucy, whose story and personality are revealed with each episode. Each story is engaging and unique, even the short chance encounters Mamma Lucy has with wandering spirits. The stories are true to the times they portray, never shying away from the struggles and triumphs of Black people in America during a time when Jim Crow laws ruled the South and racism wielded a heavy hand in the North. By the time the last story is read, Mamma Lucy stands out as a mythic figure deserving her reputation.

This was my first time reading John Linwood Grant’s work, and it definitely won’t be my last. I’m hoping we’ll get more Mamma Lucy’s stories as she continues to roam the landscape, helping those in need the best way she can.

You can find Ain't No Witch at Mocha Memoirs Press or wherever books are sold. Wherever you find it, get it. You won't be disappointed.

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