Saturday, October 27, 2012

Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones

Once again, book diet is intact as this was a library book and this is another great recommendation from Books On The Nightstand podcast.

This book starts out with "My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist." In the late 60s, James meets Gwen and they fall in love and have a daughter, Dana. Problem is, James was already married and had been for 10 years before he laid eyes on Gwen. He already had a daughter as well. Oh what tangled webs we weave....

This story is told, first, from the side of daughter #2 - Dana. James and her mother married, albeit illegally, and he's a part time dad to Dana. Both families live in the same town and James does his best to impress upon family #2 that they are the secret family. They can't be upsetting his regular family life. It does seem that he tries to be a good father and provides for Dana, but she's obviously second.

The second part of the book is told by Chaurisse, James' daughter #1. You feel for both girls because they end up meeting and becoming friends. Unfortunately, Dana knows all about Chaurisse but Chaurisse is clueless as to who Dana really is. It's a tangled mess of a man wanting the best of both worlds and wanting two families. It can't possibly stay calm and sweet for him, and them, and it doesn't. Everyone's hands are forced and choices are made.

I appreciate that this book was told from the perspective of the daughters, the truly innocent of this. They are both played as pawns by their mothers and their father.  Clearly, their parents played the game and they were the losers but one did "win" a full time dad, while the other loses.

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