Thursday, April 15, 2010
"God balances the sheet in time"
... Zora Neale Hurston
Back of the Book... Glorious is set against the backdrops of the Jim Crow South, the Harlem Renaissance, and the civil rights era. Blending the truth of American history with the fruits of Bernice L. McFadden’s rich imagination, this is the story of Easter Venetta Bartlett, a fictional Harlem Renaissance writer whose tumultuous path to success, ruin, and revival offers a candid portrait of the American experience in all its beauty and cruelty.
Bernice McFadden wants you to pay attention to the words you're reading on the pages. She wants you to feel what it was like to live during the cruelty that existed in the South during the early 20th century. She brings you into Harlem so you can see and feel the world around you during the civil rights era... She shocks you by showing you what could have been glanced over by a less honest writer, and she wraps her arms around you and brings you into the story.
Bernice McFadden creates wonderful women characters. They are strong, resilient and complicated. Easter Bartlett is one of those women. She is Glorious. Her life is heartbreaking, cruel, and gripping. Glorious is thought-provoking, as we are immediately thrown into the rape of Easter's sister, the horror of a lynching of a pregnant girl, and a back room abortion. I felt like she slapped me across the face to make sure I was looking so I could see, really see how it was... But through all of this Easter never loses her self, her pride, and her dream, her dream of writing... Getting past the shocking start to Glorious was a challenge, but well worth it. Easter is such a wonderful character I found myself becoming protective of her, wanting to make sure she was alright, so I kept turning those pages. And her life was so varied and interesting. Bernice is a master storyteller. Her stories are filled with living breathing characters, characters that are flawed, feel love, and feel pain... Characters that will wrap themselves around your heart... The characters in Glorious are no different, and you will be drawn into the story immediately. Glorious is great writing, a powerful story, and in the hands of Bernice McFadden, haunting...
Bernice blends fact and fiction as she creates Easter, a fictional Harlem Renaissance writer. The story of African-American writers who, during the era of segregation, were discounted simply because of their skin color is true. One such wonderful writer that comes to mind is Zora Neale Hurston, who died in virtual obscurity in an unmarked grave, but thanks to the efforts of the writer Alice Walker, had her own renaissance.
I want to thank Bernice McFadden who sent along a copy of Glorious for me to review. Thank you Bernice, Glorious is such an incredible story! I enjoyed reading it!