Speaker, author and project specialist Vanessa Davis Griggs knows a few things about life-changing books, after all, she’s published 18 of them. I recently spoke with Griggs about the book that changed her life.
What is the book that changed your life?
The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman by Ernest Gaines
Tell me about the book.
It’s a fictional story of a woman named Miss Jane Pittman born into slavery in Louisiana in the 1850s who lived through slavery ending, the rise of Jim Crow laws, and eventually the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.
Why did it impact you?
When I first read this novel in middle school, I believed the story to be true (and learned what the word autobiography meant). The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman was so vivid and real to me, I remember saying, “I would love to write like this one day.” I chose this book (of the many I could and would have liked to have named) because it has never left me and is likely the reason I am an author today. I remember telling Mrs. Gaines (when I met her and Ernest J. Gaines many years ago at a writers’ conference held at Birmingham Southern College) that as a writer I would either sink or swim. Her response to me: “I believe you’re going to swim!” And swim I did.
Is there anything you would like to add?
I adore this! Thank you for the opportunity to share. And if I were allowed, I would have listed three other books that made a huge difference in my life (other than the Bible of course!). They are: The Greatest Salesman in the World and The Greatest Miracle in the World (both my Og Mandino). The most recent book would hands down be: The Shack (loved this book!) by William P. Young.
Use my affiliate link to purchase your copy of The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.