Ruby Boddie was born in the village of Santa Cruz on the island of Trinidad in the Caribbean to parents of Afro-Trinidadian and Afro-Barbadian origins. The cultural diversity within her immediate family nurtured a curiosity about peoples and their folkways. At Cornell University, she deepened her exploration of the tensions between global citizenry and individual aspiration. It is no surprise that these themes show up in her first novella, “Mama’s Hair.” While traveling the wider Caribbean, the author fed her appetite for storytelling and developed a creative aesthetic that straddles North and South America.
She embeds the religious philosophy of African inspired synergetic beliefs within “Mama’s Hair,” a work of literary fiction that draws on the consequential colonial history of Cuba as well as the religious and social traditions of wider Afro-Caribbean culture.
The story introduces the character “Love”, formerly known as “Lavinia”, who ultimately earns the title of “Mama Grancy.” Love sacrifices her relationships with her native country and her clan to manifest a destiny of her own conjuring, in her determination to blaze an authentic path to self-fulfillment and personal sovereignty.
She boldly throws it all away in order to achieve the ultimate prize of life on her own terms. The character’s journey depicts the inevitable clashes arising from expectations and labels imposed by class, identity, immigrant status and, even, by motherhood.