4 months ago
Friday, June 26, 2009
Going Down South
4.5 out of 5
Reading Going Down South, was like going back in time in more ways than one. There was a period of time in my reading life when I became quite immersed in the reading of African American women authors. It seemed like the more I read, the more I wanted to read. One author led to another as I would read interviews or reviews as well as books. Alice Walker and Toni Morrison novels, J. California Cooper novels and short story collections. Tina McElroy Ansa, and of course, Zora Neale Hurston. And then I had finished the collections, and I sat waiting for the next books. Others came along over time as well as women of color from other countries.
So when I read a brief snippet of Bonnie J. Glover's new book on Shelf Awareness, I knew I wanted to read the book.
Going Down South takes you back to a time, the 1960's, when various parts of this country were very different from others depending on your race. The beginning of this book starts out with a very common occurrence, a young 15 year old girl who becomes pregnant the first time she has sex. However, what follows is not common. Olivia Jean is pregnant and her mother, Daisy is as unhappy as any mother for her only child, however, Daisy's solution to the problem is to take her back to her hometown, down South, to her mother, Birdie, to hide the problem from the neighborhood. Daisy hasn't seen her mother, since she left home with her now husband, Turk, 16 years ago, and she was secretly pregnant at the time. Daisy has many unresolved issues with Cold Water Springs, Alabama, but she doesn't plan on addressing any of them. Her plan is to leave her daughter with her mother, and return to New York with Turk to revive their marriage. Birdie also has many unresolved and secret issues and she has no intention of letting Turk and Daisy leave their daughter with her alone. She knows there is only one way to deal with her daughter, her granddaughter and this new to-arrive member of their unique family.
The story of these three women is powerful, touching, tough, and memorable. The characters quickly become three dimensional people you may have known and come across in your life. Birdie quickly became my favorite character. She made me laugh with her brutal honesty, and tough, tough demeanor, and also brought me to tears with the injustices that she endured and swallowed throughout her life.
There is inspiration and strength to be gained by any young woman that reads this book and feelings to be affirmed by any older woman that has experienced injustice for just being a woman.
Thank you, Bonnie J. Glover, you have given us such a touching, heart-warming portrait of three generations of strong women.