My cousin Denita knows me well. She gave me Tumbling over Fourth of July, thought I'd like it, and I only now got a chance to finish it. Ooh, boy, it was a hard book to read; not because the mechanics of reading was difficult, but because the emotions that it drew to the surface made me feel really, really raw. Noon and Herbie; Ethel, Fannie, Liz. Willie Mann. Reverend Schell. Thomas Moore. Black people in the '40s and '50s in South Philly. My grandma was there; as was my dad. She could've easily been talking about them or a neighborhood like theirs. Gentrification. 60 years later it's still going on; still having a devastating affect on black and other minority communities. About passion and having it taken away from you . . . given to someone who shouldn't really have it, but she's the only one there who'll take it; a father resenting his child; a daughter resenting her father; a woman loving too much but not in the way the receiver wants. Slick, silver-tongued, too-fine man that woo the innocence from a girl who just wants to be held. A girl who knows too damn much and people are frightened by that knowledge, mad at it. A woman who offers healing the only way she knows how.
There were no villains in this story. No one was all good or all bad. They were human, and textured and tactile, like you knew them personally; like you were invested in how things turned out almost more than they seemed to be; that you wanted everything to come out right for everyone--not "comeuppance" right; "find peace" right.
When I grow up, I want to write like this too.