Email this review


Twenty-eight-year-old accounts manager Cece Weathers has spent her life taking care of her sick mother after her father, a traumatized Vietnam vet, abandoned them before she was born.

Cece can’t remember a time before her mother, Carla Weathers, “became too weak to carry anything but tears”—Cece's memories of her 1970s childhood are shadowed by the gray weight of her mother’s depression, which forced Cece to take on adult tasks such as laundry, groceries, and cleaning. But when social worker Tanya Boylin entered the picture, Cece excitedly began attending a school for gifted and talented students. Unfortunately, Cece was the “only caramel face in the row of vanilla crème” and was ostracized by her predominantly white classmates. She sought refuge in books—reading “seventh grade chapter books” by fourth grade. It wasn't until Carla’s state-ordered therapy sessions also ushered in piano lessons for Cece as a form of day care that Cece made her first friend her own age, Pam. Cece’s friendship with Pam and Rocky, her first crush, sustained her during four traumatic years of high school bullying followed by the horrors of job applications and workplace politics. And when another friend, Doris, an octogenarian dying of cancer, gives Cece a house, Cece is faced with deciding if, for the first time, she will be able to live apart from her co-dependent mother and build a life of her own. Shifting between past and present, Kelly (Call It Forth: Poems, Stories & Columns, 2014) deftly weaves a narrative extending from Carla’s college days during the civil rights movement through Cece’s girlhood and present adulthood. But it's Cece’s vibrant, personable voice that carries us through the novel.

A multilayered exploration of the intricate nature of family ties in defining who we are—and how, ultimately, we can choose who we want to become.

Pub Date: May 12th, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-940430-48-5
Page count: 300pp
Publisher: Curbside Splendor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2015


FictionSILVER SPARROW by Tayari Jones
by Tayari Jones
FictionSINGING IN THE COMEBACK CHOIR by Bebe Moore Campbell
by Bebe Moore Campbell
FictionDISGRUNTLED by Asali Solomon
by Asali Solomon