Friday, October 12, 2012

Review: Silver Sparrow

Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones
Genre: Cultural (African-American), Adult Fiction, Young Adult (cross over)
Pages: 352 (paperback)
Source: Publisher | Algonquin Books
Author's Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook
Buy it: Amazon | Kindle | B&N | Book Depo

With the opening line of "Silver Sparrow," My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist, author Tayari Jones unveils a breathtaking 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

My Rating:

My Review:
Dana's mother is the "other" woman, making Dana the other daughter.  Dana struggles to live her life as a secret, having to ensure that she never crosses paths with her father's other daughter, Chaurisse.  Chaurisse lives her life as any other teenager, unaware of her father's secret life.  She feels safe in her family life and knows her parents love her.  But Chaurisse has her own struggles.  She is unable to stand out and finds little success in school, extra-curricular activities, and she has no true friend.  Until finally, she makes a new friend with a girl named Dana.

Silver Sparrow is told in two parts.  It starts from Dana's perspective and progresses through Chaurisse's point of view.  Everything about this was wonderfully done.  There is a powerful tension and moving complexities that felt real.  The power of this book is not in the ending but in the journey to the inevitable.  The emotions captured by Ms. Jones were perfectly written.  I was captivated by the issues I had nevere considered.  Ms.  Jones does not focus on the actions of the adults but how those actions impacted the girls, shaping their insecurities and choices.  Surprisingly this isn't about good guys versus bad or even how a person deals with a tough issue.  Ms. Jones expertly tells a story that, though simple, makes the reader feel every emotion and feel as if she were living in the black middle class during the '80s.

Overall, Silver Sparrow tells an intriguing story simply and elegantly without veering to the melodramatic.  It is impossible to describe how amazing this book is so you should just go out and get it.

P.S.  This book satisfies the 2012 Multicultural Book Challenge

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  1. I like the concept of this one. I wonder how the circumstances of each girl affected each other. And how they each dealt with their realities, especially once their blood connection was revealed (I'm assuming it was eventually). Sounds like a book with good character development.

    1. This is a darn good read. I was totally blown away. It really was a difficult situation for the girls.


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