For sixteen years, my mother's hands represented strength to me...And then, one night, my mother's hands became a weapon... That's my man, she said. Her voice was a low, hoarse whisper. The way she snarled at me made the skin at the back of my neck tingle... Don't you ever -- she slammed my head down --Ever-- slammed it down again, Step to my man. You hear me?! ...What hurt more than any physical pain was the fact that this woman was my own mother. But what really hurt me was that it was all over a man. And it was over her man. A man who was not my father. A man who was not even her husband...She'd looked at me with sheer hatred in her eyes. All because I'd dare to challenge a man who I believed had no business in our house at all.
--From RAISED BY THE MISTRESS
When Wayne Lampkin, a state correctional officer and former Marine, came into Valli Barnes life in the fall of 1982, he was a 33-year-old man with a step-son, three children from a previous marriage, and a new wife and infant son. By all accounts, it was a messy situation, particularly considering that Valli, with her two children, Jamilah and Kenny, had recently gone through her own divorce. Despite all of the hurt and pain that their relationship would cause their loved ones, and themselves, Valli and Wayne fell deeply in love for 20 long, tumultuous years, all while Wayne lived a double life as a married man.
In RAISED BY THE MISTRESS the hot-button topic of infidelity is explored in a way that forces the reader to understand just how multi-layered and extensive the perils of cheating can truly be for the entire family. In what is sure to be one of the most talked about memoirs of the year, RAISED BY THE MISTRESS offers a uniquely personal, deeply intimate look into the complicated past of a family torn apart by two people who fell in love under the wrong circumstances.
For perhaps the first time ever, RAISED BY THE MISTRESS features, alongside the viewpoints of Valli and Wayne, the poignant voice of Valli's daughter, Jamilah, whose perspective on her mother's relationship is laced with disapproval, perplexity and pure frustration, particularly as she helplessly watched her mother simultaneously battle with alcoholism.
The discussion around infidelity is a long-standing hot topic which frequently generates headlines around the world: Tiger and Elin; Sandra and Jesse; John and Elizabeth. Yet, the painful process of deciding what to do about a broken marriage continues for the couple long after the media has moved on, almost certainly impacting the larger family unit beyond the husband and wife. Infidelity is often shrouded in secrecy and shame. However, the authors of RAISED BY THE MISTRESS aspire to finally start an honest dialogue about infidelity and what it means for everyone involved. Not only is their story destined to be an unputdownable read, but perhaps once the conversation starts, the healing can also begin for the countless families who experience the pain of infidelity.
Each chapter of this memoir, whether the voice of Valli, Wayne or Jamilah, carries the reader from decade to decade, from tragedy to triumph, as this family grows together and apart, and ultimately reunites for an ending that one could never expect.