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BLACK GIRLS MUST DIE EXHAUSTED

A NOVEL FOR GROWN UPS

A charming tale about a reporter deciding what she wants from life.

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A debut novel tells the story of a black woman with a demanding schedule trying to cope with some dire medical news.

“Black girls, they sure must die exhausted,” Tabitha Walker’s grandmother tells her. Her grandmother, who is white, is making an observation, but it’s a phrase that Tabitha, a 33-year-old black woman, knows to be true. She has her hands full as it is: a job as a news reporter in Los Angeles, a serious boyfriend, and saving for a down payment on a house. Then her physician gives her some information that makes things even tenser. “Premature Ovarian Reserve Failure. Gotta love that kind of name, right?” Tabitha thinks. “Rather than a much more friendly ‘disorder,’ the word ‘failure’ is already wrapped right in.” The irony? The condition is caused by stress. Her busy life isn’t even the start of the strain of being a black woman in America (as the fact that she gets pulled over by a cop after leaving the doctor’s office illustrates). Now, in order for Tabitha to have the family she’s always hoped for, she’ll need to find a way to make life less traumatic without sacrificing her career, boyfriend, or nest egg. Luckily, she has her two best friends, Laila and Alexis, to help her out along with her wise Granny Tab. Can Tabitha figure out a way to wrest control over her hectic routine and get her body to chill out enough for her to have it all? Or will she collapse under the pressure, utterly exhausted? Allen writes in a sharp, lively voice that is full of warmth and humor: “ ‘You out here trying to have an NBA baby!’ Laila shouted over the champagne flute at her lips at our Sunday late afternoon brunch table, cracking herself up at me and my indiscretions of the previous night.” Tabitha and her friends are well-drawn, and it is the dynamic between the protagonist and the women in her life that propels the story. Touching on issues of professional womanhood, race, and family, the author crafts a novel that is both timely and enjoyable.

A charming tale about a reporter deciding what she wants from life.

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-73269-681-5

Page Count: 404

Publisher: Quality Black Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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A LITTLE LIFE

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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