Wednesday, March 17, 2010

#BookReview: Glorious - Bernice McFadden

From the dirt roads of Waycross, Georgia to the busy streets of Harlem, Bernice McFadden once again delivers perfection in her latest novel, Glorious.  With actual historical events playing in the background, we are introduced to Easter Bartlett and her family.

The historic "Fight of the Century" between Jack Johnson and James Jeffries sets in motion a series of events that eventually push Easter out of Georgia and eventually land her in Harlem.  Much mention is made of Marcus Garvey and his Universal Negro Improvement Association.  A story set in Harlem at such a time would be incomplete with referencing the Harlem Renaissance and Ms. McFadden deftly weaves in noted members of the Renaissance, including A'lelia Walker*, daughter of Madame CJ Walker and a patron of the arts, and Langston Hughes.  Others such as Claude McKay and Carl Van Vechten are also mentioned.

With writing as rich and vivid as only she can do it, Ms. McFadden draws you into the life of Easter Bartlett and doesn't release you easily.  Though their stories are not the same, I couldn't help but to compare Easter Barlett to Wallace Thurman's Emma Lou Brown from The Blacker the Berry, with both women seeking refuge in Harlem I found myself yearning to read this while at the same time putting it down in order to savor it and prolong the inevitable end.  While I usually give away books that I've already read, this is one that will have to stay in my library.

What did you like about this book?
The author does a wonderful job of developing the characters, even minor ones.  Through her words I was able to imagine exactly how everyone and everything looked.

What did you dislike about this book?
I wouldn't say it was a dislike, but there was a period of time of the main character's life that was kind of glossed over.  While going into detail about it was not necessary to tell the story, I could have stood more than a few sentences about the timespan.  That is only because I didn't want the book to end

How can the author improve this book?
No improvements needed!

Published May 2010

* Correction: Should have been noted as A'lelia Walker instead of Bundles.

No comments :

Post a Comment