SWEET SUMMER by Bebe Moore Campbell


Growing Up With and Without My Dad
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Campbell, a one-time author of psychobabble (Successful Women, Angry Men, 1986), here successfully converts personal experience into a lively, creative memoir. This is a book by a black woman who grew up in the 1950's and 60's, but it's more than a book about growing up black. It's an autobiography that transcends race or sex to concentrate on the universal experience of coming to terms with what it means to be human and loved, and with what it means to grow up still feeling fed by fond memories, despite being all alone. In writing about her childhood school years spent with her mother and grandmother (the "Bosoms," as she calls them) in Philadephia, and her summers spent with her paraplegic but flashy father in North Carolina, Campbell's voice is as fresh and sassy as the precocious creature she once was. Indeed, what makes her prose so special is her ability to capture so precisely a gifted child's wry and knowing view of her topsyturvy world. That world--anchored by a refined mother who practiced social work after earning two master's degrees, and by a father whose misguided need to be somebody almost cost him his daughter's respect--for years revolved around the trivial but universal concerns that form the center of most children's lives. But in the early 1960's, when the Civil Rights Movement gained galelike force, powerful forces awakened in Campbell, too. For the first time, her focus extended beyond herself, and just as she defined her place in her family, she began to realize her role in society. "I was raised right," concludes Campbell, confirming what the reader already knows after experiencing the blossoming of the witty and wise Bebe Moore. Powerful imagery and lively diction distinguish this book from most coming-up-age sagas.

Pub Date: June 12th, 1989
ISBN: 399-13415-8
Publisher: Putnam
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