Day 13 – Biography or Memoir
I chose the memoir by Michaela De Prince called Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina. After hearing her story on television many years ago, I was motivated to read her story. I haven’t yet read this one but I have a feeling it’s going to be very interesting. After living in an orphanage in Sierre Leone where she was badly treated because she suffers from vitiligo and was called the devil’s child because she was the least favorite, she was motivated by a picture she saw in a magazine of a ballerina en pointe that she found outside the orphanage. That picture gave her something positive to focus on. She was eventually adopted by the De Prince family and she’s become an excellent dance with hard work and dedication. She currently dances in a Dutch company.
I’ve always loved ballet and did ballet from age 5 to 17 years old. Back in the day there weren’t any black ballerina’s. I would have liked to be inspired by a black ballerina, so it’s nice to see there are more of them today. It would be nice to have even more of them, especially in the States. The picture on the right is me in my ballet class. I must have been about 12 years old there. Click on the video below to see Michaela De Prince dancing. It’s absolutely beautiful!
Day 14 – Black Love
Today is Valentine’s Day! So I went rummaging for a title of a black love story that maybe wouldn’t come up on the Instagram feed. Something different. I found quite a few obvious ones like An American Marriage and Loving Donovan, but in the end I decided to go with another TBR book, a romance called Zachary’s Wings by Rosemarie Robotham. This is the story of Zachary and Korie who have a passionate love affair despite their different upbringings. Zachary is a social worker from a working-class family and Korie is an Ivy-league-educated reporter and Jamaican born. Clearly there relationship will be tested but hopefully it will survive. The story covers themes of race, class, and sexuality, so it sounds right up my alley. This book was published in 1998 and was Robotham’s debut novel. So let me know down below if you’ve read this one or anything else by her and what you thought of it. It would be nice to read this one after a heavy read.
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Day 13 – Jilted Love – I had to go with Loving Donovan! That’s all I’m going to say since I’ll be getting into spoiler territory.
“The first section of this unconventional love story belongs to Campbell. Despite being born to a broken-hearted mother and a faithless father, Campbell still believes in the power of love…if she can ever find it. Living in the same neighborhood, but unknown to Campbell until a chance meeting brings them together, is Donovan, the “little man” of a shattered home-a family torn apart by anger and bitterness. In the face of these daunting obstacles, Donovan dreams of someday marrying, raising a family, and playing for the NBA. But, deep inside, Campbell and Donovan live with the histories that have shaped their lives. What they discover-together and apart-forms the basis of this compelling, sensual, and surprising novel.
A deeply thoughtful novel about hope, forgiveness, and the cost of Loving Donovan, this is certain to be another bestseller from a supremely gifted author.”(Loving Donovan, back cover)
My copy: Loving Donovan, paperback 224 pages
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Loving Donovan is the third novel I’ve picked up from Bernice L. McFadden. And I surely won’t wait so long to pick up another. I previously read Glorious and then Gathering of Waters. I really enjoyed both of these books. In light of Loving Donovan being re-released this year with a modern fresh new cover, I was enticed to pick it up. Loving Donovan, as all of McFadden’s work, shares some unique characteristics that define particularities in her writing style. She manages to balance character development and plot to a fault, particularly in this one. The two principal characters Campbell and Donovan are developed from childhood to adulthood. We are given the chance to know them integrally. The book is split into 3 main sections: Her, Him, and Them. Through Campbell’s and Donovan’s development, the story develops too, while we are introduced to a myriad of spirited characters and some thought-provoking situations.
McFadden is clearly adept in keeping the reader entertained, captivated, and on our toes to try to figure out what’s going to happen next. The rich characters, life situations, and language all wrapped up in such a small book and saying so much is a feat. You will laugh. You will be profoundly saddened and you will be rooting for love the entire time. This book is about love of all types – family, friendship, romantic. It’s also about how one becomes who they become and how family and unexpected encounters shape a big part of who they become and how they can change one’s life profoundly. It is part coming of age story and part love story. I think that’s what makes it so special. I do feel that if you haven’t read any of McFadden’s work you should definitely give this one a try. She is a contemporary African-American writer that I feel should be getting a lot more press. I’ll surely continue to read through her many treasures to discover more of her touching memorable characters. As a matter of fact, next month I’ll probably be picking up Sugar and This Bitter Earth, a two-part story about a young African-American prostitute called Sugar Lacey who moves to Arkansas to start a new life.