Silver Sparrow

Thoughts ssbytj by Tayari Jones, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill 2012 (orig 2011), 340 pages

I have been meaning to read this ever since the first #Diversiverse*. I purchased this tradeback/paperback from Barnes & Noble in 2012 and it had been sitting in a prominent spot on the shelf tempting me often. But it was the timing of Aarti’s reaction post to the Don Sterling’s racial bigotry that reminded me that I need to read more diverse books and now was the cue to begin.

If you are not aware of the A More Diverse Universe blog tour — it is usually in September, but can be all year long — allow me to share Aarti’s words:

A More Diverse Universe celebrates diversity in speculative fiction by encouraging people to read books in the fantasy or science fiction genres that were written by people of color.  It is so very important to read diversely, to read books by and about and for people who have different life experiences than you.

I don’t think Silver Sparrow fits the fantasy or science fiction genre, now that I think about it.

What’s it ABOUT:  We first meet Dana who is the daughter of a man who has two families; he is a bigamist who attempts to keep his two families apart but one is very aware of the other. His ‘first’ wife and daughter are not aware of anything amiss. The sisters are only 4 months apart in age. The first half of the book is Dana’s side of the story and in the second half, we meet Chaurisse.

Eventually, the two girls become friends. But friendships with secrets this big are destined for tragedy. I hope it is not a spoiler, but I found this to be

EXTREMELY heartbreaking.   <— hover over that to read it… or not.


RATING: FIVE slices of pie.  I was swept away, loved the character development, the plot pace, the fact that the setting was the 80s, and how realistic AND crazy it all seemed. So COMPLICATED. I was not prepared for the ending. I loved everything about it.


Other REVIEWS:   BookLust tells all, Rhapsody in Books recommends this as an excellent book club choice, and many more reviews found here by the Book Blog Search Engine.


* I did read a fantasy/SciFi book (two actually, Kindred by Octavia E. Butler and Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord) in September 2012 for the tour. I did not participate last September. Not sure what I was doing but likely overwhelmed with going back to grad school?





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20 thoughts on “Silver Sparrow

    1. Yes and yes and yes. I am going through my shelves to see what I have in support of this initiative – The Woman Warrior might be up soon. And I suppose I could count Blindness? OH! I own The Color of Water, too. So, as a percentage of total books, not as diverse as I would like but it’s something.

  1. I don’t rave from the rooftops about this one as much as I used to because I’m employed by the publisher, but since I have added that disclaimer to this post, I LOVE THIS BOOK. It’s one of my favorites that we publish and I’m always happy to see when other people love it. ❤

    1. How sad that if you represent the company, you must not be trusted to have an opinion?! unless you are in sales, of course. Sometimes, we live in a nutty world. OK, all the time, we do. 😀

  2. aartichapati

    I really enjoyed this book, too, and I agree that the ending was CRAZY. Also, I admit I had very little sympathy for her father, though I know other people did.

    I’m so glad that my post jumpstarted your diverse reading and that you started with such a home run for you! And I think this year, #diversiverse will be expanding beyond speculative fiction, because it really shouldn’t be limited to just one genre. Though it’s even HARDER in speculative fiction, I think.

  3. Pingback: YAY! It’s June | Care's Online Book Club

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