"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested." (Francis Bacon)

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Getting Mother's Body

TITLE: Getting Mother's Body
AUTHOR: Suzan-Lori Parks

I picked this one up based on the review in Publishers Weekly. I wasn't sure starting off if I would like it. The 1960s southern dialect it's written in was a bit offputting (yr for your drove me nuts), but the darned book sucked me in.

Written in a series of first person chapters (every character seems to get his or her say), this is the story about a dirt poor extended black family with the focus on Billy Beede, a pregnant black teen whose husband prospects take a nosedive. The mother in the title is Billy's mother who died years ago and there's a reason, or two, to dig up her body and move her. Seems she was buried with a pearl necklace and diamond ring and Billy and her family could use the money so off they go. But it isn't that simple and it isn't about the treasure you can sell for cash. It's about the treasures deep in the human spirit and the things that can bring people together or pull them apart. Or so it seemed to me. All I know is that Billy, her plight, and her folks became very real to me and while I knew where things had to end up, the trip held enough surprises to keep me reading to see how it all turned out. There's some female empowerment, race relations, and sexual mores thrown in for good measure. I was not disappointed.