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A heartbreaking and coming-of-age memoir from the creator of The Cash Queen about her struggles growing up with an abusive father—including her time in foster care, and her complicated role in a dysfunctional family—and how she spent years plotting to take her life back.

“A frank, sharply written account of hope and survival.” — Kirkus Reviews

Tracie Breaux was in the third grade when her father decided to blacken their windows with trash bags, to keep men from seeing in, but also to keep the family from seeing out. Her dad timed trips to the grocery store and trailed her mom at her job, where they played a made up game called Watch Mom at Work. His obsessions and paranoias tugged the childhood right out of Tracie.

In Refined, Tracie recounts all of this intense detail—including her determination to leave the home for good, where she finds herself in the foster care system, tossed into an unforgiving world, where the children pay for the sins of their fathers. Initially, she enjoys the spoils of freedom, but after being socially and mentally isolated for years, finds out that life is not as easy as just walking away from your past. Eventually, you have to confront it.

Refined is an uplifting and inspirational memoir that is a testament to the strength of young women. It is a heartbreaking story with a surprising twist of DNA patterns handed down from generation to generation. It is also a reminder that although we are shaped by our ancestors, each of us has the power to refine our future into something beautiful.


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