Even though the main characters in this book are African-American, the book depicts the difficulties across many cultures. Norma is a photographer with a four year old son, Miles and a husband who is been hiding in his work since she lost a second baby. Moxie is a divorce social worker with a teenage daughter, Zadi, whose diary entries throughout the book reveal problems that she doesn't even know she has. Zadi has gotten interested in one of her mother's troubled teen clients at a funeral for a young shooting victim. Norma and Moxie talk about anything with one another but, when Norma confesses her affair with a white man, Moxie pulls away. The story unfolds as the two women negotiate life's difficulties without the safe harbor of their friendship. It is a beautifully written novel that leaves you feeling as if the characters are real people by the time you reach the end.
Viola looks at the lives and personalities of her four grown children while she is hospitalized. Viola, her children and her husband narrate the chapters alternately. They show how they clash or support each other as divorces; infidelities, illnesses, new family members and secrets change the dynamics of a family whose love is at its core.
The pictures and essays in this book bring to life groups in pairs of African-American women who are sisters by blood or choice. It's a beautiful book that captures the joy of a moment, and inner beauty, or sense of play. A favorite picture of friends is on page 20. The essays contain personal and cultural histories, stories of obstacles and accomplishments, competition and cooperation and very women from a broad spectrum of careers and lifestyles. It makes a marvelous gift for a sister, friend or mom.
This is a novel of a white character, Addy and takes a kind of timeout from life after her own illness and the death of a black woman, Louise, who cared for her as a child. She flies to St. Claire and stays with Louisa's family for the funeral. Cautiously they accept her presence and during the visit, Addy gets to know Louise through them in a way her childhood self-absorption had never allowed. It is a rather odd book but enjoyable. The book jacket states that it is beautifully controlled. I agree with that as of book does feel somewhat restrained. There are no exuberant epiphanies, just a quiet enlightenment of which the effects are left mostly to the imagination of the reader. The best way to view this book is an example of maturing young adults who come to appreciate their elders as people in a broader context than their younger selves could comprehend.
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