JOY by Marsha Hunt

JOY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Hunt, famous for 15 minutes during the late Sixties as the Broadway star of Hair and the mother of Mick Jagger's first child, makes her fiction debut with a dark, flash-backed tale about three poor black sisters--and a God-fearing old woman--burned by fleeting fame. "Love is stronger than death": Baby Palatine, a religious old woman, said those words to Joy Bang when Joy was just a lonely little girl hanging around the apartment complex Baby and her husband managed in Oakland, California. Neglected by their mother, Joy and her two sisters were nurtured by Baby, who dragged them to church and baked them birthday cakes and tried to make up for the lack of structure in their lives. Little Joy was always special to Baby, however--her "God-sent" child--and poor barren old Baby Palatine had tried to give her words to live by. But Baby never could have predicted that the girls would band into "Bang Bang Bang," a rock group that soared to the top of the charts only to crash because Brenda--ugly Brenda with the gorgeous voice--confessed in the gay press to being a lesbian. Brenda even confessed that her first lesbian crush was the preacher's wife at Baby's church. (" 'Oh dear Lord,' I prayed to myself, 'please don't let this woman tell me nothing I don't need to hear this day about Naomi Earl.' ") After Bang Bang Bang faltered, Joy pulled away from Baby and her sisters, spending her years trailing after a skinny country-singer named Rex Hightower. Meanwhile, Baby kept loving her like her child, so when the news came that Joy was dead--dead from a drug overdose--Baby denied it. Soon, however, Baby has to confront a string of strange, dark secrets about Joy, secrets that only the strongest love can overcome. A rock 'n' roll gothic thriller, as ragged and excessive as a garage band. Hunt has talent, but her rich images get swamped by a wildly contrived ending.

Pub Date: Jan. 30th, 1990
ISBN: 525-24942-7
Publisher: Dutton
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