The complex friendship between a black housekeeper and her Jewish employer is at the heart of Hoffman’s prize-winning novel about life in the civil rights era South
Nebraska Waters is black. Vivian Gold is Jewish. In an Alabama kitchen where, for nearly thirty years, they share cups of coffee, fret over their children, and watch the civil rights movement unfold out their window, and into their homes, they are like family—almost.
As Nebraska makes her way, day in and out, to Vivian’s house to cook and help tend the Gold children, the “almost” threatens to widen into a great divide. The two women’s husbands affect their relationship, as do their children, Viv Waters and Benjamin Gold, born the same year and coming of age in a changing South. The bond between the women both strengthens and frays.
Winner of the Lillian Smith Book Award and Alabama Library Association Award for fiction, Roy Hoffman’s Almost Family explores the relationship that begins when one person goes to work for another, and their friendship—across lines of race, income, and religion—develops degrees of understanding yet growing misunderstanding. This edition commemorates the 35th anniversary of the book’s publication and features a foreword by the author and includes a discussion guide for readers and book clubs.