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Silver Sparrow

A Novel
Jones, Tayari (Book - 2011 )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Silver Sparrow
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A story about a man's deception, a family's complicity, and two teenage girls caught in the middle. Set in a middle-class neighborhood in Atlanta in the 1980s, the novel revolves around James Witherspoon's two families, the public one and the secret one. When the daughters from each family meet and form a friendship, only one of them knows they are sisters. It is a relationship destined to explode when secrets are revealed and illusions shattered. As Jones explores the backstories of her rich yet flawed characters, the father, the two mothers, the grandmother, and the uncle, she also reveals the joy, as well as the destruction, they brought to one another's lives. At the heart of it all are the two lives at stake, and like the best writers--think Toni Morrison with The Bluest Eye--Jones portrays the fragility of these young girls with raw authenticity as they seek love, demand attention, and try to imagine themselves as women, just not as their mothers.
Authors: Jones, Tayari
Statement of Responsibility: by Tayari Jones
Title: Silver sparrow
a novel
Publisher: Chapel Hill, N.C. : Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2011
Edition: 1st ed
Characteristics: 340 p. ; 22 cm.
Summary: A story about a man's deception, a family's complicity, and two teenage girls caught in the middle. Set in a middle-class neighborhood in Atlanta in the 1980s, the novel revolves around James Witherspoon's two families, the public one and the secret one. When the daughters from each family meet and form a friendship, only one of them knows they are sisters. It is a relationship destined to explode when secrets are revealed and illusions shattered. As Jones explores the backstories of her rich yet flawed characters, the father, the two mothers, the grandmother, and the uncle, she also reveals the joy, as well as the destruction, they brought to one another's lives. At the heart of it all are the two lives at stake, and like the best writers--think Toni Morrison with The Bluest Eye--Jones portrays the fragility of these young girls with raw authenticity as they seek love, demand attention, and try to imagine themselves as women, just not as their mothers.
Subject Headings: African American families Fiction Polygamy Fiction African American teenage girls Fiction Sisters Fiction Mothers and daughters Fiction Fathers and daughters Fiction Atlanta (Ga.) Fiction
Genre/Form: Domestic fiction
Topical Term: African American families
Polygamy
African American teenage girls
Sisters
Mothers and daughters
Fathers and daughters
Black author
Black author
Local Subject Heading: Black author
Black author
LCCN: 2010048098
ISBN: 9781565129900
1565129903
Branch Call Number: FIC J
Research Call Number: Sc D 12-344
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From the critics


Library Staff

Comment by: NYPLRecommends Mar 10, 2014

Silver Sparrow is the story of two families and a secret bigamist father. At least one family is a secret. The other family is aware they are the second family and must remain a secret. Two daughters are born within months of each other, one to each family. The backdrop of the story is the 70s an... Read More »


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Silver Sparrow is the story of two families and a secret bigamist father. At least one family is a secret. The other family is aware they are the second family and must remain a secret. Two daughters are born within months of each other, one to each family. The backdrop of the story is the 70s and 80s in African American society in Atlanta. The story is captivating, well-crafted and the characters are realistic and unsentimental.

Sep 15, 2012
  • nchauvetarchibald rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

The characters were meant to be flawed to make the story more realistic, but at times I just felt like yelling at them for being so stupid.

Jun 22, 2012
  • imesi rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I thought the writing well done. The characters real. The ending left me -meh!-I'm not sure it needed to be summed up in this way. I came to the same conclusions on my own without it being drawn out so melodramatic.

Tayari Jones’ Silver Sparrow has a great first line: “My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist.” In this novel with two narrators, Jones lets each girl speak in simple yet eloquent voices that are their own. Silver Sparrow is rich with themes for discussion.

This book was pretty good. The characters were believable and the story, unfortunately, not far fetched. I was eager to see how things turned out for both families in the end.

Mar 05, 2012
  • nursenyc rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I absolutely loved this book. Tayari Jones is a new writer and I wish her luck. She kept me wondering what would happen next. Dana and Chaurisse and all the other characters were very likable and thoroughly believable. Unfortunately this book could be a true story but it is fiction. Its a great read.

Feb 29, 2012
  • mimitabby rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

great book! I could not put it down.

Oct 31, 2011
  • crankylibrarian rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

One of the best books I've read this year. Dana and Chaurisse are sisters, but only Dana knows it. She and her mother Gwen are the "secret" family, the illegitimate wife and daughter James Witherspoon hides from his "real" family and the rest of the world. Although James persuades himself that he's doing right by them, Dana's resentment at always being second best eventually leads to devastating revelations for everyone involved. Tayari Jones creates a cast of fascinating and memorable characters, and a fully realized setting in Atlanta's black community of the late 70s and 80. A stunning, painful story of betrayal and disillusionment, in a family with far too many secrets.

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