Review: for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf

for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuffor colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf by Ntozake Shange
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf” by Ntozake Shange is a powerful choreopoem that explores many different arenas: rape, sexually-transmitted diseases, unplanned pregnancy, abortion, murder, etc… It is written in a way that conveys to the reader the physical and emotional stance of the women in the play. While delving into many social topics that seem to plague all women(not just colored girls) today, Shange creates an atmosphere in which these women are made comfortable to address these issues when they would, otherwise, not want to draw the attention. Such as the poem that addresses unplanned pregnancy and abortion – “i cdnt have people lookin at me pregnant i cdnt have my friends see this dyin danglin tween my legs…nobody came cuz nobody knew once i was pregnant & shamed of myself.”

Personally, this choreopoem spoke volumes to the corners of my mind and my heart, that is, the poem and Tyler Perry’s movie, “For Colored Girls” off of which this poem is based. Unlike “Precious” based on Sapphire’s “Push,” I did not read the book first. As a matter of fact, I’m happy that I had an opportunity to view the movie before reading. I believe it really helped a lot in that this is my first time reading a choreopoem. The characters in the movie really brought the stories and issues to life, and, as previously mentioned, these are topics that touch all women, not just colored girls.

I give it 5 stars.

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P.S.  “for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf” was provided on-loan from my local library.

Review: Push

PushPush by Sapphire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Push” by Sapphire was very disturbing, but awesome and intriguing all at the same time. It was a real testament of faith of the human spirit and proves that we can succeed over any situation if we are determined. The main character, Precious Jones, is in a difficult situation. She is living under abusive and incestous conditions, and, already slacking in school, she finds herself pregnant for the 2nd time.

Not wanting to expose the other students to pregnancy, a school official suggests an alternative school for Precious. It is here, along with her teacher, that she begins to find herself and discover who she really is…without the daily beatings and without the frequent sex. Moreover, Precious realizes that family does not always consists of those that have your blood, but those that have your best interests at heart.

Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry collaborated and produced “Precious,” a movie rendition of “Push,” and it was okay. However, having first read Sapphire’s words and the story that she told, my imagination mixing together with her words was much, much better.

I give it 5 stars.

P.S.  “Push” was obtained from my personal library.

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Review: Passing

Passing  Passing by Nella Larsen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Passing” by Nella Larsen was a very poignant and powerful read. It explores the concept of passing which is basically pretending to be someone you’re not for your own personal, selfish gain. Ms. Larsen’s achieves this through her two main characters, both African-American women, Irene and Clare.

Irene was born African-American, and she grows up to marry a successful African-American doctor. As a result, she chooses to stay within the African-American community, and she only “passes” when it’s convenient for her, or at times when she is in a position to gain. On the other hand, Clare, who was also born African-American, chooses to disregard her African-American roots and live her life solely as a white woman. She embraces all that it has to offer…even her husband doesn’t know she’s black.

As the story unfolds, both these women are made to choose what’s most important to them, and, strangely enough, neither is happy with the path they have chosen. Irene is a woman who could be happy with her life if it were not for her dark-skinned husband. He refuses to conform to the life that she wants, and she neglects to address “the race issue.” Moreover, Clare has everything she wants but not everything she needs. Because she finds out that she needs exactly what she’s been trying to erase from her life a long time. And, in the end, the realization of each one’s life and its direction leads to dire consequences…

I would recommend “Passing” to anyone who’s looking to read about why people do the things they do, and what is ultimately behind their decisions. I enjoyed reading this book, and could not put it down. However, I wish that Ms. Larsen would have continued on with her story a little while longer instead of bringing it to such a drastic halt.

I give it 4 stars.

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Review: A New Day

A New DayA New Day by Margaret Johnson-Hodge
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“A New Day” by Margaret Johnson-Hodge was a, surprisingly, really good read. And, I say that because, when I first started reading this book, I did not care for the main characters, Carol-Anne, at all. At one point, I didn’t even want to finish the book, but I was determined to get through it. Partly, because I really liked her boyfriend, Max, so much. I wanted to find out what would happen with them.

Also, another reason why I didn’t so much care for the book at first, is because Carol-Anne went against one of the rules that I did agree with Steven Harvey on in “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment,” and this ended up causing a great rift between Carol-Anne and her daughter, Nadia.

However, this book makes a remarkable turn around, going from a meager 2-star read to a solid 4 because, as I’m reading the book, I realize that one of the reasons I didn’t too much care for Carol-Ann in the beginning is because she was similar to myself. I could read a lot of my qualities in her. And, not just me, but a lot of women.

I’m so happy that I kept reading this book…it was almost similar to baking a cake. Starting off, it doesn’t look like the individual ingredients will add up to too much. But, after you mix them together, and let them bake a little bit, you end up with this delicious-tasting desert. That’s what Ms. Johnson-Hodge served us.

I give it 4 stars.

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Review: The Darkest Child: A Novel

The Darkest Child: A NovelThe Darkest Child: A Novel by Delores Phillips
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reading the “The Darkest Child” by Delores Phillips for the 2nd time was so much more revealing than the 1st time go-round. It was so much more detailed and graphic than the 1st. It wasn’t that they weren’t there, I was just more aware of the content than I was before. Ms. Phillips does a wonderful job of characterizing a mother whose not only disfunctional within herself, but possessive of her children and afraid that they will leave her. “The Darkest Child” – Tangy Mae – is so courageous and strong…she constantly struggles between succumbing to the love of her mother, and the building of self-respect and self-love for herself…and, eventually, in the end, she wins. However, not before she warns her mother of exactly what she has created: “You need to understand that you’ve placed yourself in the hands of the same children you taught to honor you. I’m afraid they might honor you the same way you’ve honored them, and we both know that’s no good.”

“The Darkest Child” by Delores Phillips has earned five stars. Ms. Phillips has succeeded in making me laugh, in making me cry, and in forcing myself to take a good, long look at my views to make sure I’m not just conforming or getting by, but actually believing and standing up for what I believe to be true.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel…actually so much that I wanted to read other works by the author; however, after searching, I found none.

I give it 5 stars.

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