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Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones
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Silver Sparrow (edition 2012)

by Tayari Jones

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5074620,055 (3.78)20
Member:arielfl
Title:Silver Sparrow
Authors:Tayari Jones
Info:Algonquin Books (2012), Paperback, 368 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:****
Tags:Fiction African American

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Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones

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Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
This book was very interesting and able to present real people dealing with life's difficulties. The writing was good, although I liked the writing from Dana's perspective better than that from Chaurisse. The book was non-judgmental and very caring. ( )
  suesbooks | Sep 19, 2016 |
Set mostly in the eighties, this is the story of the daughters of James Witherspoon, bigamist. One daughter, the "secret" daughter, knows that her father is a bigamist and knows who his first wife and child are. The other daughter does not. The book is divided into two sections, one told from each daughter's point of view, and telling the story of this extended family and how the secret comes out.

I wanted to like this better than I did. I felt like the story was there and the writing was pretty good, but the book just didn't sing for me. There was no spark. I also had a lot of trouble holding the setting--1980s Atlanta--in mind. I constantly had to remind myself that it wasn't set in the fifties, because there seemed to be almost no cultural or pop cultural context (except for the occasional reference to Bill Cosby, and boy howdy does that play differently now than it would have when the book was published in 2011). Not a bad read, but disappointing in the end. ( )
  lycomayflower | Sep 10, 2016 |
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 |
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Epigraph
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
Dedication
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.
Quotations
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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