Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Bebe Moore Campbell

Pub Date: Feb. 16th, 1998
ISBN: 0-399-14298-3
Publisher: Putnam

 Campbell (Brothers and Sisters, 1994, etc.) continues her thoughtful exploration of contemporary black life, this time featuring a female TV producer torn between her upwardly mobile L.A. existence and the crumbling Philadelphia neighborhood where she grew up. Maxine McCoy, married, pregnant, and the executive producer of the high-profile Ted Graham Show, has to juggle her talk show responsibilities with caretaking, at long-distance, her aging grandmother, the once well-known singer Lindy Walker. When Maxine gets word that Pearl, the friend who's been watching over Lindy since the old woman's mild stroke, is going back south, Maxine has to take off during sweeps week, risking the displeasure of her colleagues, to tend to her grandmother in Philadelphia. Her first impulse is to move Lindy into an assisted-living center. But Lindy will have nothing to do with it. When Maxine's own mother, Millicent, died, Lindy took Maxine in, eventually giving up her singing career for the financial security of practical nursing. Lindy vowed to do for her granddaughter what she was unable or unwilling to do for her own daughter Millicent. Now, after spending time in her old neighborhood, Maxine realizes that, while drugs and crime have infiltrated Lindy's block, the sense of community has remained intact. And as she struggles to put the elements of her own life into perspectiveher feelings about work, about her unpredictable husband, and about prospective motherhoodshe discovers the redeeming quality of community involvement and the healing that comes from a sense of purpose. Lindy's own salvation ultimately comes from getting back in touch with her music, whence the novel's title. Rich and fluid storytelling, peopled with believably illuminating characters. (First serial to Essence; Book-of-the-Month Club main selection; author tour)