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Mama Don’t Like Ugly takes readers on a journey of Dana Calhoun’s life growing up in Nautica, Louisiana – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Her Mama, a young light-skinned pharmacist, holds the title as her number one hater, all because she dislikes her dark skin. Regardless of her unconditional love for her Mama, she encounters a cycle of torment.
When Mama bathes Dana, she tries to scald her with hot water. She neglects her to the point where she is malnourished. She tosses her around like a doll. Out of shame, she relaxes her hair two days in row. She watches a pedophile grab her. She steals money from her just to prove a point. Once Dana challenges her, she finds Mama’s hands wrapped around her neck – praying that she does not die.
These snapshots of Dana’s life give insight into the abuse and neglect that she endures growing up. Still, she longs for her Mama’s acceptance before she goes off to college. Will Mama finally realize that Dana is a beautiful person in spite of her dark skin or will she spew those hateful words, “Mama Don’t Like Ugly!”