The Magnolia Code

National Award

2020 Distinguished Favorite Award for Memoir Category
IPA Independent Press Award

Joan Brooks Baker grew up privileged in the New York City of post–World War II America. The Yankee daughter of transplanted, dyed-in-the-wool Southerners soon confronted an unwritten code of conduct—the Magnolia Code—that paralyzed her mother and threatened to do the same to her. In this memoir, Baker shares how she navigated her bifurcated world, defying the code and finding role models in rebellious women including her Aunt Billie, who challenged her to be herself regardless of the consequences. Baker examines relationships with her primary and extended families, ultimately discovering that her work as a photographer taught her much about who she is and where she belongs. The author’s unselfconscious, humorous narrative will strike a chord for those who struggle in a world full of paradox.

Photographer and writer Joan Brooks Baker has documented the lives of women in her own culture and in cultures beyond, linking the greater female mystery to her own experience. She has exhibited her images in Santa Fe, New Mexico; in New York City; and at the United Nations.

Size: 7.5 x 9
Pages: 204
Plates: 10 color plates; 20 b/w plates
ISBN: 978-1-934491-68-3
Price: $28