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4632154,622 (3.85)42
"In the summer of 1995, ten-year-old Joan, her mother, and her younger sister flee her father's violence to the only place they have left: her mother's ancestral home in Memphis. Half a century ago, Joan's grandfather built this majestic house for her grandmother--only to be lynched, days after becoming the first Black detective in Memphis, by his all-white police squad. This wasn't the first time violence altered the course of Joan's family's trajectory, and given who lives inside this house now, she knows it won't be the last. When her aunt opens the door, Joan sees the cousin who once brutally assaulted her. Over the next few years, she is determined not just to survive, but to find something to dream for. Longing to become an artist, she pours her rage and grief into sketching portraits of the women in her life--including old Miss Dawn from down the street, who seems to know something about curses"--… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 21 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
A very good read if you like family sagas about strong women. The timeline stretches from 1937 to 2003 and it is a lot of jumping back and forward, but it was not difficult to keep track of it. It's also told from the POV of four of the North women - Hazel (the grandmother), Miriam and August (both her daughters) and Joan (her granddaughter).
It's mostly set in Douglas, North Memphis neighborhood and deals with a lot of issues black women had to and still have to deal with: racism, domestic violence, poverty, gang violence etc. but it's balanced with community, Memphis music, hairstyling, quilting, God and Southern cooking. ( )
  dacejav | Jun 24, 2024 |
Read for book club. I have mixed feelings. Too depressing for me. Every chapter had something terrible happening that I didn’t enjoy or want to read about. I appreciate it was patterned as a generational saga and set against historical events - but it felt far too forced. For example, everyone knows about MLK’s assassination. Tell me something I don’t know! The story alludes to another assassination but the 2nd one is unnamed and unexplored. What?! The people in this story didn’t respond in some unique way that made it worth the pain of reading about it.

I appreciated that the story was from the point of view of the women. Clearly, the men were all terrible. I got the message. I don’t take personal offense. But was it a good read? I suppose it’s okay for a beach read but I have limited time. For the dozen or so books I have time to read every year, I’d prefer them to be a lot more enjoyable than this. I often find myself telling friends about recent books I've enjoyed. Not this one. It has not sprung to mind since reading it and I hope to forget it completely as quickly as possible. (That's partly why I write reviews - so if I'm ever asked about it, I'll know what I've disliked and forgotten.)

There were some things going on that I didn’t even understand such as the prison scene? Too hard to believe Joan’s sister could say anything that would force her to visit Derek in prison. And why the secrecy? Not tell the mothers? I don’t even believe Joan would even tell her sister about her rape in the first place - at least, not after keeping it secret for so long.

No idea how this book got such good ratings. I’ve read far better multigenerational family saga stories such as The Island of Sea Women, Roots, or any Michener book like Alaska, Hawaii, and so on. Amusingly, I see that Memphis got 4.15 stars on Goodreads, the exact same rating as War and Peace. I don’t buy the author is another Tolstoy. ( )
  donwon | Jan 22, 2024 |
This is a creditable debut novel about a multigenerational family of determined black women. I really enjoyed her portrayal of her characters but felt it lacked cohesion. Some scenes (ex: the scene in Iraq) seemed thrown in almost as an afterthought to explain behaviors that occurred later on. ( )
  Unkletom | Jan 17, 2024 |
Memphis is a family saga focusing on the women in the North family, spanning generations and time periods. From matriarch Hazel to daughters Miriam and August and granddaughters Joan and Mya, the story is one of family, strength, and love.

Fans of historical fiction will find much to enjoy in this book, as it spans from the 1930s to the early 2000s. Its best moments focus on interactions between family members; the dynamics of the family are complicated, as they are with any other family, and Stringfellow really does a good job of showing that.

The only issue I had with the book was the fact that it felt a little too polished. The plot, while not exactly predictable, did not deliver any surprises; most ends are tied up neatly in a bow, which simply doesn't happen in real life. Some of the characterizations of Joan felt especially over-the-top, most notably with her artistic talents. Ultimately, the story is tight in a way that feels like a let-down - I would have liked to see what earlier drafts might have looked like, as this published version feels like it has been gone through by an editor very heavily to the detriment of the story.

Overall, this is a read I would recommend to fans of family sagas and historical fiction. It shows the real lives of Black women in the South in a way that neither glosses over nor holds back, and while the women endure much hardship, they are still able to find hope. ( )
  bumblybee | Jun 21, 2023 |
Story of three black women of the same family who survive all the hardships life throws at them. ( )
  janismack | Dec 14, 2022 |
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"In the summer of 1995, ten-year-old Joan, her mother, and her younger sister flee her father's violence to the only place they have left: her mother's ancestral home in Memphis. Half a century ago, Joan's grandfather built this majestic house for her grandmother--only to be lynched, days after becoming the first Black detective in Memphis, by his all-white police squad. This wasn't the first time violence altered the course of Joan's family's trajectory, and given who lives inside this house now, she knows it won't be the last. When her aunt opens the door, Joan sees the cousin who once brutally assaulted her. Over the next few years, she is determined not just to survive, but to find something to dream for. Longing to become an artist, she pours her rage and grief into sketching portraits of the women in her life--including old Miss Dawn from down the street, who seems to know something about curses"--

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