HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Babylon Sisters by Pearl Cleage
Loading...

Babylon Sisters

by Pearl Cleage

Series: West End (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
124397,109 (3.6)3
None

None.

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 3 mentions

Showing 3 of 3
I agree with some of the complaints about Babylon Sisters being a bit scattered, and sometimes obvious...but what relationship with sisters -- whether by birth or luck -- isn't both of those, from time to time? Pearl Cleage's stories just make me happy. They're romances, at heart, but the men and women who populate them are real people, with real faults and worries. When they fall in love, its not a rescue, and when they have sex, its neither careless nor earth-shattering. I like them, because I *would* like them, if I knew her characters in person.

I read a review, today, that noted (and, I paraphrase) that if you can't find a character you can root for to have an emotional transformation, whats the point of finishing the book? Cleage's characters are Good People, doing the best they can, and sometimes getting it wrong, but sticking together, no matter what. I can root for that, despite a few flaws. ( )
  duende | Feb 6, 2014 |
(originally published at http://nomadreader.blogspot.com)

The backstory: Babylon Sisters is the second novel in Pearl Cleage's West End series. Although this book isn't a sequel to Some Things I Never Thought I'd Do, the main characters from Some Things do pop up a few times here, which will delight readers who enjoyed the first novel.

The basics: Babylon Sisters focuses on Catherine, who describes her work perfectly in this passage: "What I do is coordinate and integrate services for programs assisting female refugees and immigrants. Atlanta is a magnet for people trying to make a new start in a new country, and even though the town’s natives still think in terms of black and white, in reality we’re looking more and more like the Rainbow Coalition." She's also a single mother to a smart, confident seventeen-year-old young woman who longs to know her father, but Catherine remains committed to keeping that secret from her.

My thoughts: It's no secret Pearl Cleage is one of my all-time favorite writers. I love her ability to write characters who can simultaneously be human beings struggling with romance and trying to make the world a better place. Pearl Cleage's novels make me feel like I'm sitting at the greatest dinner party ever. Her characters eat, drink, think, speak and act in ways that inspire me and leave me breathless:

"There are always a million answers—the generals and the rebels make sure of that—but when you really think about it, there’s no good reason to try to kill as many people as you can, for as long as you can, until the ones who are left surrender their lives, or their resources, or their culture, or their self-respect, or their ancestors, or their spirits, or their oil, until they get strong enough to throw you off their backs and the whole cycle starts all over again. Thinking about it can make you feel powerless and scared, and that was no way to end an evening that had evolved into one of the best I’ve had in too long."

Catherine is the heart and soul of this novel, and I loved her personally and professionally. She's smart, driven, loyal to her friends, and a wonderful mother. What makes her great, however, are her raw honesty and her expression of fears and vulnerabilities:

"I wondered if it was possible to be in love with a man and develop a vocabulary free of the responses that make every conversation a minefield of hurt feelings, half-truths, and dashed expectations."

I'm rarely sad when I finish a novel because I'm usually eager to find out how it ends and ponder my thoughts on the novel as a whole. Babylon Sisters, however, is the rare novel that makes me sad when I finish because I want to go on glimpsing into the lives of Catherine and her friends because they feel like my friends.

Favorite passage: "Trying to change poor people’s lives is never as glamorous or inspirational as they make it when some do-gooders get the central role in a Hollywood movie. In real life, Sam’s experience is probably closer to the truth, a long series of unrewarded sacrifices and thankless tasks that rarely impact the lives of the people you want to rescue."

The verdict: Babylon Sisters is a rallying cry for social justice, a love story, a touching tale of a mother-daughter relationship, and a story about the family we make for ourselves, but most of all it's a beautifully written novel filled with memorable characters faced with difficult decisions, both personally and professionally. And it makes readers think about the choices we wish we would make and the choices we fear we might make. ( )
  nomadreader | Aug 8, 2012 |
Catharine Sanderson runs a nonprofit helping immigrants get settled into the Atlanta community. Her daughter Phoebe is about to enter college so Catharine needs a job to pay the tuition, and when she is approached by Ezola Mandeville, who runs a housekeeping business, to team up to find work for Catharine's clients and give Ezola a new pool of applicants, the partnership seems right on time. But if it was perfect, there wouldn't be a story...

Meanwhile, Phoebe is desperate to know who her father is and Catharine is just as desperate for Phoebe not to know. And surprise of surprises, he contacts Catharine on business, and the other plot thickens.

Pearl Cleage does an amazing job of narrating her own novel. Many authors don't, but her voice, timing and diction are all on point. I would love for her to narrate works by other authors as well.

This was a light read. I'm not too much into chick lit, but I liked Pearl Cleage's What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day when I read it way back when and decided to give her another go. It took me a few tries to finish this one because the story lines were a little clumsy. You definitely have to suspend belief to get into it. A main character disappears partway through the novel.

I finished the book because it is not too heavy on the romance, has POSITIVE black men who want their children and try to do the right thing (big ups for that!), and didn't take itself too seriously even while highlighting some serious societal issues. ( )
2 vote bohemiangirl35 | May 22, 2011 |
Showing 3 of 3
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345456106, Paperback)

Catherine Sanderson seems to have it all: a fulfilling career helping immigrant women find jobs, a lovely home, and a beautiful, intelligent daughter on her way to Smith College. What Catherine doesn’t have: a father for her child– and she’s spent many years dodging her daughter’s questions about it. Now Phoebe is old enough to start poking around on her own. It doesn’t help matters that the mystery man, B.J. Johnson–the only man Catherine has ever loved–doesn’t even know about Phoebe. He’s been living in Africa.

Now B.J., a renowned newspaper correspondent, is back in town and needs Catherine’s help cracking a story about a female slavery ring operating right on the streets of Atlanta. Catherine is eager to help B.J., despite her heart’s uncertainty over meeting him again after so long, and confessing the truth to him–and their daughter.

Meanwhile, Catherine’s hands are more than full since she’s taken on a new client. Atlanta’s legendary Miss Mandeville–a housekeeper turned tycoon–is eager to have Catherine staff her housekeeping business. But why are the steely Miss Mandeville and her all-too-slick sidekick Sam so interested in Catherine’s connection to B.J.? What transpires is an explosive story that takes her world–not to mention the entire city of Atlanta–by storm.

From the New York Times bestselling author of What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day . . . comes another fast-paced and emotionally resonant novel, by turns warm and funny, serious and raw. Pearl Cleage’s ability to create a gripping story centered on strong, spirited black women and the important issues they face remains unrivaled.


From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:53:31 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"Catherine Sanderson seems to have it all: a fulfilling career helping immigrant women find jobs, a lovely home, and a beautiful, intelligent daughter on her way to Smith College. What Catherine doesn't have: a father for her child - and she's spent many years dodging her daughter's questions about it. Now Phoebe is old enough to start poking around on her own. It doesn't help matters that the mystery man, B.J. Johnson - the only man Catherine has ever loved - doesn't even know about Phoebe. He's been living in Africa." "Now B.J., a renowned newspaper correspondent, is back in town and needs Catherine's help in cracking a story about a female slavery ring operating right on the streets of Atlanta. Catherine is eager to help B.J., despite her heart's uncertainty over meeting him again after so long, and confessing the truth to him - and their daughter." "Meanwhile, Catherine's hands are more than full since she's taken on a new client. Atlanta's legendary Miss Mandeville - a housekeeper turned tycoon - is eager to have Catherine staff her housekeeping business. But why are the steely Miss Mandeville and her all-too-slick sidekick Sam so interested in Catherine's connection to B.J.? What transpires is an explosive story that takes Catherine's world - not to mention the entire city of Atlanta - by storm."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
13 avail.
8 wanted
1 pay4 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.6)
0.5
1
1.5
2 1
2.5 2
3 6
3.5 4
4 10
4.5 1
5 2

Audible.com

An edition of this book was published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 92,889,144 books! | Top bar: Always visible