"I know now that God had put earthly angels here for me despite my flaws. Now that I can look back, I can see the wonders of his grace."

Set in the American South from the 1950s to the present, this memoir paints an honest portrait of the author’s experiences and frames them with gratitude. Fuller grew up as an African-American during segregation, survived bullying, endured an accident leading to extensive burns, worked as a tobacco puller, overcame drug abuse, and lost several loved ones in a short time. His spirituality—specifically, belief in angels—kept him going. At various points, Collier hears voices of guardian angels giving him direction and comfort. For example, shortly before a friend dies, a voice says, “He won’t be around long. There’s nothing you can do.” Earthly angels are humans placed in his path to provide aid and advice. A notable example is the author’s grandfather, Papa Badge, who functions as a surrogate father, one who is helpful, wise, and steady. The story is narrated chronologically, beginning with childhood experiences in North Carolina, leading to coming-of-age during the 60s and 70s, and concluding with a wider spiritual outlook in later years.

One can look back and see an ordinary life, or, like Fuller, look back and see a life of extraordinary grace. The memoir’s descriptions of his early years are especially compelling and poignant, capturing the fragile innocence of childhood and value of close family bonds. The social turmoil of the Vietnam era is also portrayed well. The writing style is down-to-earth and sincere throughout. Though at times the angels’ connection is not always immediately apparent, in the end, Fuller takes an explicitly spiritual turn. Having come through so much, he relates that writing the book fulfills his covenant with God to pass on his story. It portrays the power of gratitude to transform seemingly random and tragic events into lessons on divine grace.

Return to USR Home