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A sweet-tempered, imaginative excursion through Hollywood--and life--from the perspective of a black woman who used to play domestics on the screen and ends up working as one. Young (Who Is Angelina?; Sitting Pretty; Ask Me Now) creates a heroine whose voice rings so true that the author can play with metaphysics, make even potentially villainous characters likable, and still end up with a novel that's always convincingly real. From the time she was a little girl in Hattiesburg, Miss. (and even before she ran off with bandleader Chance Franklin), Mamie Franklin knew she'd be a star. After all, she had advantages: ""Fact of business, I never did have to concentrate all that hard on bein charmin, since I was born Southern and well-bred, not to mention brown-skin and comely-featured""--plus blessed (or cursed) with psychic abilities and the good offices of Founding Father Benjamin Franklin, who first appeared to her when she was just 15 and napping on the porch swing. About 30 years later, Mamie knows her days are numbered, looks back on her life, and tries to tie up the loose ends. These include seeing that white movie-mogul Harry Silverstone acknowledges the grown son he fathered by her; mourning the death of common-law husband Bufley Cole and dealing with his return as a ghost; and figuring out what to do with the mysterious trunk that Burley had her hide at the home of her employers. She comes up smiling from the earthquake that destroys her Santa Monica home and, most of all, learns to live with tree awareness--""like bein up there on the screen where the story's goin on and, at the same time, bein out there in the audience that's so busy lookin at the movie they forget they're bein seduced by light."" Full of gentle wit and colloquial charm, this is much like the love-making of Mamie and Burley--always ""good-natured, friendly.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1988
Publisher: Delta/Delacorte