Books: Where the Blues Begin

His EYE Is ON THE SPARROW (278 pp.) —Ethel Waters, with Charles Samuels—Doubleday ($3).

"I never was a child.

"I never was coddled, or liked, or understood by my family.

"I never felt I belonged.

"I was always an outsider.

"I was born out of wedlock, but that had nothing to do with all this. To people like mine, a thing like that just didn't mean much.

"Nobody brought me up."

So begins His Eye Is on the Sparrow, the autobiography of Singer-Actress Ethel Waters. It is surely one of the frankest self-revelations ever to see print, a combination of depressing sordidness and one proud Negro's piled-up resentment...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!