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Getting Mother's Body by Suzan-Lori Parks

Getting Mother's Body

by Suzan-Lori Parks

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3511131,129 (3.48)10
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    As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner (aethercowboy)
    aethercowboy: Getting Mother's Body is a reimagining of As I Lay Dying through a different culture's point of view.

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I picked this up from the clearance table at B&N, thinking that it sounded like some sort of Flannery O'Connor kind of thing. I mean, this girl's about to go dig up her mother's body to find something (I can't remember what)! But it was just absolutely terrible. I finished it, but I hated it and couldn't wait to foist it upon my library as a donation. ( )
  JG_IntrovertedReader | Apr 3, 2013 |
I thought this would be a great book from the back cover...it received a really thrilling sounding review from Richard Russo and this author had won the Pulitzer for a drama she had written. I found it to be incredibly dull with characters that were all immensely unlikable. Set in a small Texas town in the 1960s, while some African Americans were traveling to D.C. to hear MLK forty years ago, others were apparently traveling around Texas to dig up the body of a mother buried with her jewels. Well, it's fiction thank God...and it was interesting t to see from the author's perspective how segregation and discrimination played its role in various southern towns. On the flipside, despite what good reviews it had received, it seemed incredibly dull reading. I guess I can sum it all up to say that when a book is written in alternating first person perspectives and all of the characters are as dumb as dirt, it doesn't make for a very engaging time of it. I realized the first page in I would hate this book but I hadn't brought anything else to the gym to read and I didn't want to watch TV so I was stuck. And then, when I had read 90 pages of it, I figured I may as well go and finish it.

Not recommended. ( )
1 vote kirstiecat | Mar 31, 2013 |
Five months pregnant, Billy Beede heads up to Texhoma, Texas, to marry her fiance, Clifton Snipes, who designs individualized caskets for a living, Unfortunately, upon her arrival in Texhoma, Billy discovers Snipes' wife with baby #7 on the way. ( )
  mnlohman | Sep 27, 2010 |
I had the opportunity to see Parks read at Bookpeople in Austin on July 16, 2003. She said,"I am willing to write not well because I like writing so much." ( )
  lieslmayerson | Jan 31, 2010 |
Parks’ writing here reads a lot like a play. I’m not sure what the qualities are that made me feel like that, but her background as a playwright sure felt like it came through. It’s a little heavier on dialogue than a lot of other books, and that talking is central to the story. This isn’t annoying in the "the characters just sit around talking" way. Most of it accompanies actions the characters take. Each short chapter is told from the perspective of a difference character, and a lot of the characters get a chapter or two. The reader really gets to get inside heads a lot. I liked that. And while it has a lot of substance that is just below the story’s surface, it never feels didactic or preachy.

Good reading to start off the year.

Full review: http://reading.kingrat.biz/reviews/getting-mothers-body-suzan-lori-parks ( )
  KingRat | Jan 10, 2010 |
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For Francis Ammon - the first Texan I ever met. And, or course, for Paul.
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"Where my panties at?" I asks him.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 081296800X, Paperback)

Like a country quilt, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks's spellbinding first novel, Getting Mother's Body, is pieced together from rags: short and slanted scraps of narrative recounted by various friends and members of the hard-luck Beede clan of Ector County, Texas. These sad, wily, bickering voices tell the story of Billy Beede--poor, unmarried, and pregnant--and her dead mother, the "hot and wild" blues singer, Willa Mae Beede, who may or may not have been laid to rest with a fortune of diamonds and pearls in her coffin. When a letter arrives announcing that a supermarket is being built on the ground where Willa Mae was buried, Billy determines to dig her up and get the jewels. But Willa Mae's embittered female lover, Dill Smiles, is just as intent on keeping the corpse in the ground. Deeper and richer than a typical quest novel, Getting Mother's Body is also the story of an African-American family, of beauty winding like bright thread through long-held grudges, hopelessness, and greed. --Regina Marler

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:46 -0400)

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"Billy Beede, the teenage daughter of the fast-running, no-account, and six-years-dead Willa Mae, comes home one day to find a fateful letter waiting for her: Willa Mae's burial spot in LaJunta, Arizona, is about to be plowed up to make way for a supermarket." "As Willa Mae's only daughter, Billy is heiress to her mother's substantial but unconfirmed fortune - a cache of jewels that Willa Mae's lover, Dill Smiles, is said to have buried with her. Dirt poor, living in a trailer with her Aunt June and Uncle Roosevelt behind a gas station in a tumbleweedy Texas town, and pregnant with an illegitimate child, Billy knows that treasure could mean salvation. So she steals Dill's pickup truck and, with her aunt and uncle in tow, heads for Arizona with Dill in hot pursuit. While everyone agrees it's only polite to speak of getting mother's body and moving her to a proper resting place, it's well understood that digging up Willa Mae's diamonds and pearls will make the whole trip a lot more worthwhile."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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