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My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
3.5 stars for Glorious by Bernice McFadden.
Glorious is the story of Easter Bartlett, a young black woman whose life is riddled with one tragedy after another. We follow Easter from her hometown of Waycross, GA, up the eastern coastline into Harlem and back. Along her journey her life is filled with unending tragedy and calamity. She endures a senseless crime against her sister, the death of her mother, a foray into Lesbianism, a brief marriage to the would-be assassin of a civil rights activist, dreams of being a notable writer amongst the likes of Langston and Zora during the Harlem Renaissance, a stint into homelessness; and her life coming full circle landing her back in her hometown. Set in the early to mid 1900’s, one word is at the root of most, if not all of her troubles—HATE.
I truly wanted to love this book beyond measure because I love Bernice McFadden and her style of writing. I wanted to love the book because McFadden labored over it for six years and anything we put that much time and love into; should be loved in return. But the truth is I simply don’t know what to make of Glorious. Like another reviewer, I didn’t hate it or dislike it; I simply didn’t love it.
Glorious is written in true McFadden fashion. She is an authentic master of the written word. Her eloquence and prose does not fail, even when the story does. I actually read the book in one day, which perplexes me the most…I couldn’t put the book down but when I turned the last page I was unsure as to what it was that kept me captivated.
A very strong opening pulls the reader in immediately. The notion that if Jack Johnson had allowed James Jeffries to defeat him, young Easter never would have learned how evil and unfair life can be; and she may have never left the security of her home in Waycross, GA. But Johnson did win and a chain of horrendous events were set into motion and poor Easter never really got a firm grasp on what would become of her life. This I could accept and possibly loved had anything that happened in Easter’s life been dealt with emotionally and realistically, by Easter. Instead, life tossed her around and she never fought back just simply packed her bags and moved on to the next bad thing.
I am convinced there was a lesson to be learned, or a message in each thing Easter experienced, but it simply was lost on this reader. By the time Easter unearthed the rusted tin can at the end of the story, the word she had buried inside it years earlier, didn’t have the effect I think McFadden anticipated, and if so, that to me would be the biggest tragedy of Glorious. BUY NOW
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