Books by Rosa Guy

MY LOVE, MY LOVE by Rosa Guy
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 1, 2002

"Bring on the violins: a hopelessly two-dimensional story rendered more so by its sentimentality."
Trinidadian-born Guy (The Sun, the Sea, and a Touch of the Wind, 1995, etc.) offers an excruciatingly atmospheric retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 21, 1995

An angry, once-abused woman painter almost disintegrates, then experiences a last-minute healing in an equally abused placemid- 70s Haiti: the emotional, scattershot newest from Trinidadian-born Guy (My Love, My Love, or the Peasant Girl, 1985, etc.) Jonnie Dash, a beautiful African-American artist, having sold a painting for a half-million dollars (an interesting but never explained event) goes to Haiti to see her old lover and Pygmalion, GÇrard. GÇrard was married when she first met him years before in an interracial salon in New York; now that he's widowed and available, though, Jonnie is no longer sure she loves him. Troubled by painful memories and disturbing blackouts, she flees to her favorite hotel in Haiti. Like one of those generic airport, airplane, and ship settings, this ``old Hotel'' is frequented by a range of characters whom Jonnie seduces, befriends, attacks, and fears. It's the Watergate era, which gives Jonnie a chance not only to pontificate on the infamy of the US and obnoxious Americans abroad, but on Haitian and African history as well. She also recalls her life as an orphan, her rape by a Catholic priest, life on New York streets, the drawings of sexual organs that made her famous, a failed marriage, and a son shot and killed by the police as he ran away from a bungled burglary. Amid all this are encounters with sinister Haitians and arrogant whites; raunchy sex with Stephan, toy-boy of wealthy friend Jessica; pursuit by a nasty foreign service officer who uses the notorious Tonton Macoute to help him find Lucknair, the small boy he's in love with; puzzling deaths; and the improbable rescue of Lucknair that, together with Jonnie's affair with a black revolutionary, will apparently save her. Somewhere within this clutter of melodramatic action and attitude there lurks an interesting heroine with an interesting story to tell, but, sadly, she's not easy to find. Read full book review >
BILLY THE GREAT by Rosa Guy
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Sept. 1, 1992

Despite his mother's disapproval, six-year-old Billy wants to play with friendly new white neighbor Rod, ten; later, when their fathers bristle at each other over a broken window, Rod and Billy defuse the tension with a series of gleeful cartwheels. Guy pokes gentle fun at Billy's parents, already discussing whether he should be a great soccer player or go to college, while delivering a serious message about conflict and peacemaking. Binch's bright, realistic watercolors glow with saturated colors and Billy's dimpled, infectious grin. Sunny pictures; simple, lively text; thoughtful point, well made. (Picture book. 6+) Read full book review >
THE MUSIC OF SUMMER by Rosa Guy
FICTION
Released: March 1, 1992

The politics of skin color in the black community: Brilliant Sarah, one year into Juilliard, is trying to mend her long friendship with blue-eyed Cathy; but Cathy, now involved with a group of lighter-skinned friends and jealous of Sarah's talents, adamantly rejects her. Still, when Cathy's mother, Clarice, invites Sarah to Cape Cod for a summer vacation, Sarah accepts despite her own mother's anger at Clarice's and Cathy's betrayal of their relationship. Cathy's grandmother—who inherited her elegant Cape Cod home from Quaker friends—takes Sarah under her wing, but Cathy and her friends continue, viciously, to ostracize her. Meanwhile, charismatic Martinican Madame Armand and her handsome son Jean Pierre, whose business usually keeps him in Africa, join the house party. When Cathy's friends literally try to drown Sarah, Jean Pierre is just in time to rescue her; their growing attraction is explicitly consummated, but Sarah elects Juilliard rather than marriage. A flawed—and very uneven—book, beginning with amateurishly lengthy explanations and burdened with stilted writing; Cathy's jealousy is so overdrawn that Sarah's continuing affection for her is not credible—nor is Sarah's apparent lack of friends at Juilliard. Even the potential message about self-realization is subverted: Sarah's final decision is based on family loyalty, not love for her music. Still, Sarah herself is appealing and her antagonists' rage chillingly believable, while the overriding motif—that a caste system based on skin is tragically destructive—is vital and compelling. Significantly, Sarah is reading Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye (1970), a more trenchant exploration of the same theme. (Fiction. YA) Read full book review >