Female; children: one son.
Entrepreneur and author; owner of Regina Louise beauty salon. Cofounder of literacy foundation.
Serpent Source Foundation for Women Writers grant; Hedge Brook Writers Colony residency.
Somebody's Someone (memoir), Warner Books (New York, NY), 2003.
WORK IN PROGRESS:
A sequel to her memoir.
Although Regina Louise had a difficult childhood, she went on to become a successful businesswoman, starting a popular beauty salon in San Francisco, California. However, one day while sitting on a San Francisco commuter train, her past came back to haunt her in the form of her estranged father, and ultimately inspired her to write Somebody's Someone. "The experience was so affecting, the only way through it was to write about it," Louise stated in an interview with Lisa R. Cross for SistahCircle.com.
Somebody's Someone is a coming-of-age story that follows Louise from early childhood up to her teens years. Meeting Louise at age eleven, readers learn that she has been abandoned by her biological parents and is now living in Austin, Texas, in the care of a neglectful foster mother named Big Mama. Big Mama maintains a meager standard of living for the foster children in her care, and Louise is beaten by Big Mama's daughter. In an effort to escape, she sets out to find her father's mother, hoping that her grandmother will take her in. However, at her grandmother's home she encounters a similar situation and is ultimately returned to Big Mama. Louise is not only abused, but also endures sexual abuse as well during her time in Texas, and when she finds out she is finally being summoned by her biological mother, Ruby, in North Carolina, Louise is optimistic.
Upon arriving in North Carolina, twelve-year-old Louise finds that Ruby is involved with a new man and has two sons whom Ruby obviously prefers. In her mother's home the young teen once again falls victim to sexual and physical abuse, this time at the hand of Ruby's boyfriend. Another chance to improve her circumstances is offered when she is sent to California to live with her biological father and his white wife, but ultimately her parents decide to relinquish custody and Louise becomes a ward of the state of California, her remaining teen years spent bouncing from one unhealthy situation to the next, finding bits of hope in between, only to be let down. At one point she is cared for in the home of Claire Kennedy, who lavishes Louise with affection and kindness. While Kennedy attempts to adopt Louise, authorities reject the idea of an African-American child being permanently adopted by a white woman.
A reviewer for Publishers Weekly commented that in Somebody's Someone Louise "brilliantly portrays how what seems like 'in-cur-ridge-abul' to adults feels like simple self-defense to a child scarred by maltreatment." Antoinette Brinkman added in her review for Library Journal that Louise's memoir constitutes "an unnerving tale of childhood abuse and neglect." "More than one person's story," Brinkman added, "this book illustrates how too many caretakers and social service agencies fail vulnerable children."
In addition to running a successful California-based beauty salon, Louise has become a well-respected keynote speaker on the topics of foster care and child adoption, and has also established a foundation to fight illiteracy among foster children. Publishing Somebody's Someone has also served to further her cause; a reviewer for Publishers Weekly stated that Louise's book provides a "rare look into the inner world of an unwanted child will enlighten readers concerned with the fate of at-rise children."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2003, review of Somebody's Someone, p. 589.
Library Journal, May 1, 2003, Antoinette Brinkman, review of Somebody's Someone, p. 143.
Publishers Weekly, April 14, 2003, review of Somebody's Someone, p. 56.
Regina Louise Web site,http://www.reginalouise.com/ (October 6, 2003).
Time Warner Bookmark,http://www.twbookmark.com/ (May 14, 2004).*