“Memphis” by Tara M. Stringfellow is at its core a book about family. The family we’re born into, as far as our blood ties, but then also family, from the perspective of community, the neighborhoods we grow up in, the environments in which we’re raised and how those relationships and interactions shape us as people. At the center of the novel are four female characters who are related by blood through mother daughter and sister sister relationships.
Tag: <span>family saga</span>
“The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois” by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers is an epic saga that tells the story of several generations of a Black family from a small fictional town in Georgia. Spanning decades before the Civil War to the recent present the story explores various facets of Black History and is tied together by the writing and philosophy of W.E.B. Du Bois. The book clocks in at an initially daunting 800+ pages but is an engrossing read that will go by quickly. Despite being Jeffers’ first novel it is masterfully written with a rich fictionalized history seemingly brought to life with a cast of complex and incredibly human characters.
A review of “The Darkest Child” by Delores Phillips, a novel about a preteen coming of age in a dysfunctional home and community with dreams of escaping both by obtaining an education.
“The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives” by Lola Shoneyin is a novel about a polygamous Nigerian man, Baba Segi who has four wives and seven children. The household was stable and had a steady rhythm until the arrival of the fourth wife, Bolanle. When she joins the household her being younger and more educated than the other women incites their jealousy which leads to them plotting and scheming to get her out. Her position is made even more precarious as her and the baby-obsessed Baba Segi struggle to conceive a child which leads to some big family revelations.
“Soul Food” is a 1997 George Tillman Jr. drama about the Joseph family’s descent into dysfunction after the matriarch goes into a coma. The story is told through the eyes of the eldest grandchild, Ahmad, who serves as the film’s narrator. Josephine “Big Mama” Joseph and her three daughters gather with their families on Sundays and holidays to share a good meal. The tradition serves to keep them close while their sibling rivalries, meddling, and their raggedy Cousin Faith threaten to push them apart.