https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/every-inch-love-will-meredith-coleman-mcgee/1140830878?ean=9781737884309 Every Inch Love Will, hardcover edition at Barnes & Noble online.
PRAISE for Every Inch Love Will
Black Love is often hidden in plain sight because it begins in places we frequent in our everyday lives, and it happens when Black men and women have truly made up their minds that they want to love and be loved — and that they are worthy of a mature, honorable, lifelong kind of love. This is the love described within the pages of Every Inch Love Will as Meredith McGee demonstrates -through her unique storytelling- how Black love is the everyday actions of everyday people in our everyday Black spaces, and it goes from the local to the eternal spaces within the heart.
Jolivette Anderson aka The Poet Warrior, Host & Founding Production Partner of Mississippi Vibes Open Mic Poetry Set, Jackson, Mississippi 1998 – 2003
A beautiful love story, a testament to how growth can come from grief, and a personal history are weaved into a narrative in this candid work, which also highlights much of Black American history. This book is so seamless, you’ll feel like you’re sitting down at the kitchen table and listening to McGee tell her story over a good meal, the room filled with both laughter and tears.
Emily Michie Birch, M.L.S. Librarian and former editor at Praeger Publishers
Every Inch Love Will is a heart touching love story. This fast-paced read is a memorial to the love between Will McGee and Meredith McGee. It warmed my spirit to learn how much they cherished each other. I can only imagine how difficult it was for Meredith to create this love story so soon after Will’s death. The things we do for love…
Alice Paris, Retired, Tuskegee University/Federation of Southern Cooperatives
A compelling and riveting memoir of a love affair where both partners learn to respect and trust each other regardless of financial and health obstacles.
William Trest Jr., Author, The New Populist Party and Reverse Guilty Plea
Every Inch Love Will is a love story, a story of a deeply devoted couple. Absorbing and moving, the story unfolds tenderly, in a local neighborhood as the two get to know each other and their families are knit together.
They don’t take each other for granted. They are modest and appreciative about their good fortune in finding each other, having had broken relationships in the past. They commemorate their milestones and anniversaries and enjoy daily life. Although Meredith is often on the road for work, the story is about finding and keeping a home. As the author says about her husband, “Life placed me in his heart, next to his grandmother.”
The book is also an account of their separate parallel lives as they change over time. One life shows the evolution of a woman at work — her disillusionment with the nonprofit field and her emergence (in this order) as a typist, editor, author, publisher and entrepreneur extraordinaire. In tandem, her husband moves through several levels of a journeyman’s life; he is a plumber and gains skills and credentials over time. The two maintained zones of privacy, not necessarily knowing details of the other’s finances or income.
Underneath the happy story, there are low notes, reports of Will’s medical afflictions, recurring like a beating drum, threatening the terrible loss to come. At one point, when the reader has been lulled into complacency by the fact that Will repeatedly recovers, it is shocking to learn that he has trouble holding a spoon.
I have had the honor and privilege of being acquainted with the couple in this story. I know the author, who entered our rural leadership and education program when she worked at the Mississippi Association of Cooperatives, assisting Mississippi farmers.
The Rural Development Leadership Network (RDLN) is a national, multicultural social justice organization that supports community development in poor rural areas through hands-on projects, education, leadership development and networking. Participants take part in a four-week Rural Development Institute at the University of California, Davis; spearhead a project in their home areas during approximately two-and-a half years of involvement and have the option of earning an academic degree. (At the time of Meredith’s participation, the master’s was provided through Antioch University; it’s now through the Great Plains Program, with the host being the University of Kansas.) Our Assemblies, held in diverse rural areas, provide the impetus for much of the travel described in this narrative.
Both Meredith and Will participated in activities of the Rural Development Leadership Network, and I witnessed their interaction, when, for example, Will would help with the transport and arrangement of Meredith’s books for sale at events, or when I stayed overnight at their house and saw her solicitation for him.
After Will died, Meredith made the project of writing a memoir of their life together a way to work through her grief. She seems to have attacked the project with practicality and a natural determination, simply taking one step after the other, as she has taken on other projects in her life, like training citizens in redistricting while on the staff of Southern Echo, or like starting a family investment club, or undertaking initiatives to encourage literacy among children in Jackson, Mississippi, or joining book fairs there to make reading a priority for everyone (and to help sell books), or like assuming primary responsibility for the care of her infirm father under her roof. Caring for a parent is a big responsibility and she barely alludes to it in the book, taking it in stride.
A kind of confidence is needed for her approach, a willingness to learn by doing, not to know all the answers before starting out. Many of us are intimidated by academia, for example, held back by self-doubt or past difficulties. Meredith took on the independent study in the RDLN/Antioch master’s program without batting an eye. Maybe some of her confidence comes from having a famous uncle — James Meredith — who integrated the University of Mississippi in 1962, Maybe some of it comes from having three close relatives (her father, mother, and uncle) who are published authors.
Facing the project of moving on through life as a widow, Meredith again is practical. Will was talented with mechanical processes. Meredith’s future starts with learning how to get the car fixed.
Starry Krueger, President
Rural Development Leadership Network
New York, NY
December 22, 2021
When asked to write the introduction for such a special book, I was not only taken aback, but honored to be considered for such a big contribution to an amazing story. I met Mr. and Mrs. McGee in 2012 while searching for a publisher for my memoir. I was given a flyer for Meredith Etc by a coworker who stated that a young man was posting them in a local library. Turns out the young man was William Earl McGee Jr. Upon our initial meeting, I knew the McGees were a loving and inspirational couple. Mr. McGee would also become the first patient I cared for during my introduction into the medical field.
Every Inch Love Will is a miraculous memoir dedicated to and written for a magnificent man. This book tells a story of true love and devotion which spanned over 23 years. Will and Meredith shared an unbreakable bond that tested time. Throughout their marriage, they faced many trials. However, they held onto each other and challenged the world as one. They supported each other’s endeavors and advocated for one another. He was her biggest fan and she, his. And what would you expect from a couple so deeply in love?
Will was a hardworking, well educated, and honest man. He provided for his family and was a wonderful role model to his son, nieces, nephews, and peers. Utilizing his trade in plumbing, Will employed many young men. He gave them an opportunity to earn an honest days’ wage while also teaching them everything he knew in hopes that they too could become successful in the field. Will was a pillar of his community. Everyone who knew or encountered him instantly loved and trusted him. He was a big brother to many.
As a young child Will was sickly. However, his medical condition did not stop him from pursuing his interests. In adulthood, a crippling diagnosis often threatened his very existence. Though hospitalized on numerous occasions, Will stayed positive and on his feet with the help of his caregiving spouse. Following each hospital stay, he was blessed to return home to his family, regain his strength, and push forward. Nothing detoured him. It is said that God gives His toughest battles to His strongest soldiers. And that is exactly what Will was, a soldier. He fought long and hard until the day God called him to rest.
Will and Meredith were blessed to share many memories and special moments over the 23 years they spent together. What started as an encounter with a stranger blossomed into a love that many people don’t get the opportunity to experience. Through tears and pain, joy and sorrow, sickness and health, their commitment to each other grew with every moment. Nothing can alter the connection they had. The raw emotion with which their story was written makes evident the fact that their souls are fused, and they will forever be one. Their story is the epitome of black love, and their love affair will last until the end of time.
Starkishia, RN, Author, Co-author
Starkishia: Estrella and Mary’s Story & Song
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