From the time she's 11, Doris sings with the adult choir at Mount Calvary Full Gospel Church, where her father is pastor. Over the years, her interest in school and church wane as she grows increasingly preoccupied with the nearby Apollo Theater. Then, after years of studying music on her own, she lies to her mother about her whereabouts, and she and three friends wangle their way on stage for Amateur Night, bringing down the house and launching Doris's career. Basing the book on Higginsen's Broadway play of the same name, the authors create an affectionate portrait of post-WW H Harlem as a thriving artistic community and old-fashioned, family-oriented neighborhood. Mighty matriarchs like Doris's mother appear, as well as sassy types like Sister Carrie, who quits show business to find a quieter life but knows how to nourish Doris's dreams of fame. There is no strife here; Doris simply sets her mind to the job, knows an opportunity when she sees it, and sails over the top--a dreamy, full-of-hope heroine who appeals as much for her tenacity as for her starry-eyed belief in her own worth.