JUST US WOMEN by Jeannette Caines


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Smiling confidently from the heavily drawn cover illustration are a young black woman at the wheel of a convertible and a little-girl passenger of nine or ten--suggesting, as does the title, that this will be a glowing evocation of sisterhood. And so it proves. The Little girl and her Aunt Martha are about to depart for North Carolina (presumably from New York, judging by the states they go through), and this is the little girl's future-tense anticipation of their unhurried stops. . . to shop at roadside markets, walk in the rain, pick mushrooms (""but we have to be careful not to pick the poisonous ones""), and so on. The pictures are similarly idealized, to the point where there is no life in the proceedings. Cummings is good at translating vague expectations to concrete scenes, but these scenes are all coated over with her cloying affirmation that being black and female together is a warming and wonderful thing. For that message, the book is sure to be praised and listed. But the message is imposed at the expense of a shared experience.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1982
ISBN: 0064430561
Publisher: Harper & Row