Nowhere Else I Want to Be

A Memoir

Non-Fiction - Memoir
325 Pages
Reviewed on 10/13/2017
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Author Biography

I am a writer living in Washington, DC. My memoir, "Nowhere Else I Want to Be" has won several awards, including Grand Prize Winner (Nonfiction), Authors Talk About It 2017 Book Contest. I also write essays that have also won awards including New Millennium Writings 41st Literary Nonfiction Award, 2016. I'm now working on new essays and another book, as well as an online school, Forum for Growth in Service.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite

Nowhere Else I Want to Be: A Memoir by Carol D Marsh is an inspiring memoir that redefines the sense of humanity in a world where human values are quickly replaced by an egoistic culture. In this spellbinding memoir, the founder of Miriam’s House — a residence for Washington, DC’s homeless women with AIDS — shares her journey through the first ten years of her project. The reader is immediately transported into another side of Washington, a grim reality of suffering and pain that is ignored by those who hold the power to make the changes that could affect millions of lives. This is a story of one woman’s courage to step out of her world to confront the difficult reality of suffering and pain in others, a journey that is filled with powerful challenges.

Carol D Marsh takes the reader with her through this story, confronting racism at its deepest core, struggling to create spaces where homeless women can experience hospitality and reconnect with their humanity. Readers will meet people like Kimberly, a woman who suffers from alcohol addiction, and Alyssa who longs for a mother’s touch, having been abandoned by her own mother. It’s a story that shows readers how, in the midst of the worst form of suffering, there is a light shining; that in the prostitute, there is a child of purity, and that in the distant, intolerant person, there could be someone wounded, yearning for love.

Nowhere Else I Want to Be: A Memoir is a story of love and compassion, a memoir that brilliantly articulates values that our society needs to be a better place. I enjoyed how Marsh’s sense of humanity comes across in her narrative. I was stunned by her courage and her selfless spirit, reaching out to embrace the destitute in very difficult and trying circumstances, most often putting her own life in danger. This book - just like the work of Jean Vanier, the founder of L’Arche - will change the way we look at others, especially those less fortunate than us. It brought tears to my eyes and awoke deep sentiments of compassion and a love I haven’t felt before.

Gisela Dixon

Nowhere Else I Want to Be: A Memoir by Carol D. Marsh is a memoir primarily about Carol’s experiences and years working at Miriam’s Home, a shelter for homeless women with AIDS. Nowhere Else I Want to Be talks a bit about Carol’s own family and upbringing, but the story really revolves around the women that lived in the shelter that Carol ran for 14 years. Carol decided to open this shelter as a way to help homeless women in Washington DC, women that didn’t have anywhere else to go. Most of the women, in addition to battling AIDS, had histories of abuse, alcoholism, and drug abuse among other things. Carol presents the case histories of these women as we learn about their backgrounds, their poverty, and their living conditions before they moved in here.

Nowhere Else I Want to Be: A Memoir by Carol D. Marsh is an inspiring read and Carol does an excellent job of presenting the women’s stories as genuinely and honestly as possible, along with the good, bad, and ugly. Most of the women who come to her are African American, and Carol also addresses the larger issues of inherited prejudice, judgement, and racism that still pervade American society today. The writing is crisp, clear, and simple, almost like someone has written a diary. The stories were sadder because, like a lot of homeless women coming from an abusive background, some of the women had developed AIDS from being forced into prostitution at a young age. Overall, this is an eye-opening read for anyone and I would certainly recommend it.