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Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones

Silver Sparrow (edition 2012)

by Tayari Jones

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5034420,248 (3.79)19
Title:Silver Sparrow
Authors:Tayari Jones
Info:Algonquin Books (2012), Paperback, 368 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:Fiction African American

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Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones



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Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
The concept of Silver Sparrow was compelling but the execution left a lot to be desired. The first half was dull and unremarkable for a story about an "outside" child's view on her father's bigotry. I found the haphazard narration to be distracting as the story was full of flashbacks, whether they were relevant or not. The second half, told from the point of view of the "real" daughter, was better mostly because the reader knows things the narrator doesn't from the first half. I was disappointed by what felt like an incomplete ending. Maybe it's supposed to show that real life isn't so tidy, but it felt too abrupt to even allow for resolution. ( )
  CosimaS | Jul 3, 2016 |
I liked the story told from both sisters points of view. ( )
  SkiKatt68 | Feb 26, 2016 |
A story about two girls and the family they share, Silver Sparrow speaks to the issue of secret children. Centering on the lives of two girls with the same father and different mothers, it portrays their living arrangements and the growing pains of girlhood. The interpersonal dynamics throughout the book give depth to the typical complexities of a love triangle which was displayed via the points of view of the girls. James, the uncle, was introduced as a pivotal character instrumental in certain scenes to move the plot forward but continued to hang around throughout the remainder of a book as an unneeded extra. Events and landmarks were used in a inadequate attempt to authenticate dates and locations; as if they were tucked into the book after the fact not woven into the original fabric of the story. The ending, though true to life, did little to sum up the events that had taken place and left unanswered questions. The best thing about this book is the poem in the beginning by US Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey. I do hope to see more from this author as she grows. ( )
  DelRica | Jan 20, 2016 |
First line: My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist.

Dana Lynn Yarboro and Bunny Chaurise Witherspoon are sisters, but only Dana knows this. Dana’s mother, Gwen, married James 10 years after he had married Laverne, and just a few days after Chaurise was born. Gwen has always told Dana that her father has another family, and also made her understand that this is a private matter that cannot be discussed. But having the basic information isn’t enough for her; Dana hungers for more. What she really wants to know is does James “love” his other family? Or more importantly, does he love them MORE than he loves Dana and Gwen? Dana will not stop until she has elbowed her way into Chaurise’s life. And once the girls become friends their secrets are bound to come out.

I was completely drawn into the story of these two sisters, only one of which knows the other exists. Jones crafts a tale of a different family model that rings true. I recognize my own emotions and reactions in those of the characters, from the desire to be “Daddy’s little girl” to the need for recognition. Dana narrates the first half of the book, Chaurise the second. Through them we also learn about their mothers, grandmother, friends and neighbors.

Everyone, the men – James and his “brother” Raleigh – included, is flawed but trying to do the right thing, or at least the best she or he can do given past choices. The choices they make affect not just themselves but a wider circle of people, often with unintended results. In the end Jones shows that we must all live with the results – whether it was our choice or someone else’s. Every character wins and loses. The reader’s loyalties are conflicted – do we side with Gwen and Dana? With Laverne and Chaurise? In the end, we can love all of them, with all their flaws and despite some bad behavior.
( )
  BookConcierge | Jan 13, 2016 |
This book was a recommendation from one of my favorite authors, Ann Patchett. It's the story of two families, one husband/father. One public wife and daughter and one hidden wife and daughter. Told from the two daughters' point of view, this book held my interest right through to the end. Tayari Jones is an excellent writer, I've already ordered her two earlier books. ( )
  Dianekeenoy | Jan 11, 2016 |
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A Daughter is a Colony

a territory, a progeny,
a spitting image
like Athena sprung

from her father's head;
chip off the old block,
issue and spawn;

a namesake, a wishbone---
loyalist and traitor----
a native, an other,

a subject, a study,
a history, a half blood,
a continent dark and strange.

-----Natasha Trethewey
For my parents, Barbara and Mack Jones, who, to the best of my knowledge, are married only to each other
First words
My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist.
Anyone who has ever seen James when the stammer rode him could tell how much it hurt him. His face and neck seemed to swell as though the words were trapped in there, painful and deadly like sickle cells. And finally with a jerk, spasm, or kick, the sentence would break free, unfettered and whole.
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A story about a man's deception, a family's complicity, and two teenage girls caught in the middle. Set in a middle-class neighborhood in Atlanta in the 1980s, the novel revolves around James Witherspoon's two families, the public one and the secret one. When the daughters from each family meet and form a friendship, only one of them knows they are sisters. It is a relationship destined to explode when secrets are revealed and illusions shattered. As Jones explores the backstories of her rich yet flawed characters, the father, the two mothers, the grandmother, and the uncle, she also reveals the joy, as well as the destruction, they brought to one another's lives. At the heart of it all are the two lives at stake, and like the best writers--think Toni Morrison with The Bluest Eye--Jones portrays the fragility of these young girls with raw authenticity as they seek love, demand attention, and try to imagine themselves as women, just not as their mothers.… (more)

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