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‘Girlz ‘N the Hood’ Recounts Growing Up in South Central L.A.
By Simone Grant, Contributing Writer
Published April 28, 2022

Dr. Mary Hill-Wagner is an award-winning author from Compton, California.
(Photo provided by the author)

“Girlz ‘N the Hood: A Memoir of Mama in South Central Los Angeles” is written by award-winning author, journalist, and college professor, Dr. Mary Hill-Wagner, and tells the story about the author’s experiences growing up in Compton with a undeniably strong, single mother of 11 children.

Hill-Wagner’s inspiration behind the memoir and title stems from her growing up in South Central Los Angeles. She spent her teenage years in Compton and was class valedictorian of Compton High School, class of 1982.

“In the 1990s, filmmaker John Singleton, made the film ‘Boyz ‘N the Hood.’ At that time, someone asked him why there was not a film called, ‘Girlz ‘N the Hood.’ I was asking myself that same question,” recalled Hill-Wagner.

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“Singleton said that someone would have to write it. I have done so in the form of my memoir, ‘Girlz ‘N the Hood: A Memoir of Mama in South Central Los Angeles,’” she explained.

“Girlz ‘N the Hood” is relatable to many and Hill-Wagner made sure to not hold back anything. She documented the good, the bad, and the jaw-dropping moments in her life growing up in South Central.

In her book, she describes how her mother raised 11 children with the help of welfare checks and a “fire arm hidden in her bra.” She also details how drugs, pregnancies, and guns, were everyday occurrences, but she and her siblings dealt with it the best they could, all while taking care of the new babies that were born.

Her mother was a matriarch, who she describes as a “force of nature.”

“She believed in tough love for a tough time,” Hill-Wagner said. “She believed in Jehovah God, her children, and in herself. She was the only truly honest person I’ve ever met.”

She went on to say that her mother would say that her book is honest.

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“She probably wouldn’t have liked that I was putting the family’s business in the street. But she would have understood that it’s a story that needed to be told at this time,” Hill-Wagner emphasized.

 “Girlz ‘N the Hood” can be found on Amazon and is already receiving amazing reviews. One reviewer said the book is, “brilliant and deep,” comparing it to an episode of “Sanford and Son” because it is, “laugh-out-loud funny.”

They also mention how the characters don’t seem real, but this makes it, “as tragic as it is amusing.” Another reviewer describes how the book opened their eyes, and how nothing in this book is sugarcoated.

After graduating from Compton High School, Hill-Wagner obtained a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Southern California (USC), a Masters of Arts from Ohio State University, and a Doctoral degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

She has taught at several universities such as Humboldt State University, Drake University, Iowa State University, and USC. Aside from writing novels, she has also worked as a print journalist, editor, copy editor and more at publications such as the Wave Community Newspaper, Pasadena Weekly, Our Weekly, and others. She is currently working on a fiction novel about three grandmothers in California raising their grandchildren.

To obtain “Girlz ‘N the Hood,” visit: https://www.amazon.com/Girlz-Hood-Memoir-Central-Angeles-ebook/dp/B08NXSV34P

For more information on Hill-Wagner, visit http://maryhill-wagnerauthor.com/

Categories: Book Releases | Entertainment
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