SOME SOUL TO KEEP by J. California Cooper


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Cooper's third collection of modern folk tales--nearly all of them narrated in a pungent, good-natured, and colloquial style. As in Homemade Love (1986), the message here is homey and simple: goodness wins out in the end, and love conquers all. The abandoned little orphan girl in ""Sisters of the Rain,"" the blind unwed mother in ""Feeling for Life"" (whose social worker says she is ""blind, black, and broke!""), the former maid turned landlady in ""About Love and Money,"" and the middle-aged, deserted wife in ""The Life You Live (May Not Be Your Own)"" all overcome hostile environments, uncaring relations, and personal disabilities because they are hard-working, determined people whose capacity for love turns conditions in their favor. ""Sometimes you got to have the rain in order to get to the rainbow,"" says the narrator of ""Sisters of the Rain,"" who's telling the story of Superior, a quiet girl who works as a maid while her friend Jewel gallivants around with other women's husbands, wears fine clothes, and has fun. Nevertheless, it is Superior who has the last laugh--despite a crippled, cheating husband, four children to raise, and a manic-depressive employer, she is the one who ends up with successful, loving children, a beautiful house filled with things her children buy for her, and lots of love, while Jewel dies embittered and alone. Cooper is interested in the simple truths of simple people, and the pithy insights, energetic colloquial language, and sheer good nature expressed in these stories carry the reader willingly with her.

Pub Date: Oct. 19th, 1987
ISBN: 0312193378
Publisher: St. Martin's