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Saturday, September 14, 2013

A Great Book

I just read a great book--Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones.

I follow author Jennifer Weiner on Twitter and she is quite vocal on many literary topics. I love it when she recommends good books. I always save the titles on Goodreads.  She tweeted about Silver Sparrow on September 8 and I immediately picked it up at the library.


The first line is "My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist."  The setting is 1980s Atlanta, GA. Dana is James's of the two.  The one that is a secret.  The first half of the novel is told through Dana's 15-year-old perspective.  The entire novel bounces from flashback to present time that builds a complex history of how this "family" has come to be.  I was heartbroken on Pages 6-10 when 5-year-old Dana drew James, her mom, and herself as her family in art class.  The teacher was confused because as everyone knew, Dana didn't have a daddy.  So, James explained to Dana that night that he loves her SO MUCH, but she can't be calling him her daddy because he has another family and another little girl.  Dana says, "Your wife and your other girl is a secret?" and James replies, "No. You've got it the wrong way around. Dana, you are the one that's a secret."


So, we see this girl, Dana, and her mother, Gwen survive this arrangement where James comes over on Wednesdays for dinner.  He provides for her financially and loves her, but his primary place is at his other home with Chaurisse and her mother, Laverne.  Tensions build for Dana and Gwen when the point of view switches to Chaurisse's.  I won't say too much, but if you want a very layered, complex book about how life can shake up all of your expectations, you need to read this.  It's wonderful.

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