MRS. PALMER'S HONEY by Fannie Cook
Kirkus Star


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Winner of the George Washington Carver award, this is a novel which treats Negroes as people going through the sometimes painful process of growth and adjustment. Viewed as a labor novel, it achieves to much greater extent the goals which Piper Temphins by Men Field (see P. 531) failed to reach. And yet the focus of the novel is not on the labor elements, but on the transformation of ""Mrs. Palmer's Honey"", -- nameless, efficient, unobtrusive maid in a St. Louis household -- into Honey Hoop, socially conscious war worker, sister of Lamb, labor organiser for C.I.O. and eventually wife of Ben Boston, successful Negro mortician. Honey was ""Big Mama's best child"" -- but she rebelled against the strictures of the household, the withdrawal of her sister Carmen, a teacher who hated her dark skin, the heedlessness of her older sister, Euthalis, who was mother to a numerous progeny, but never found a man to stick to her, -- and the acceptance of Snake, whose hatred for the whites dominated a rootless life, in and out of jail. Something in her was drawn to Snake -- but it was Snake's betrayal of the one white man Honey revered that severed the tie and freed her, not only from Snake but from the life as Mrs. Palmer's Honey. One follows Honey's struggle upward with a warm sympathy. At times, Fannie Cook speaks through Honey -- at times through Lamb and Bob and Gloria. But most of the time, the reader feels a deep understanding, an integrity of interpretation, as an aware group of Negroes, striving to find the common ground on which they can stand for their rights and privileges as citizens, use the facilities that the CIO and Political Action Committee share with them to make a place for themselves in a community that attempts to sustain the policy of segregation and discrimination.

Pub Date: Feb. 7th, 1945
Publisher: Doubleday, Doran