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The Resource Silver sparrow, a novel by Tayari Jones

Silver sparrow, a novel by Tayari Jones

Label
Silver sparrow
Title
Silver sparrow
Statement of responsibility
a novel by Tayari Jones
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
In 1980s Atlanta fifteen-year-old Dana Lynn Yarboro, who is aware her father has another family and a daughter her age, crosses paths with Bunny Chaurisse Witherspoon and the two begin a friendship which is complicated when Dana realizes Bunny is her half sister
Storyline
Tone
Writing style
Character
Award
  • BCALA Literary Award for Fiction, 2012.
  • Library Journal Best Books, 2011.
Review
  • Jones’ expansive third novel, following The Untelling (2005), is set in 1980s middle-class Atlanta, where Dana Yarboro grows up knowing that her father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist. Told in two parts, the first chronicles the complex nature of Dana’s family dynamics as part of James’ illicit life. Dana’s mother, Gwendolyn, is intensely focused on Dana’s future as well as on James’ legitimate wife and daughter—an obsession that wears on Dana, who tires of being considered a “secret.” At the same time, Dana’s half sister, Bunny Chaurisse Witherspoon, grows up seemingly unaware of any indiscretions, enjoying a comfortable adolescence under the watch of her overprotective father and hardworking mother. James, with the help of a lifelong friend, does his best to keep the two families apart. Nonetheless, Dana finds a way to befriend Chaurisse without her parents’ knowledge, and the teenagers’ relationship threatens to put their families on intersecting paths. Jones effectively blends the sisters’ varied, flawed perspectives as the characters struggle with presumptions of family and the unwieldy binds of love and identity. -- Strauss, Leah (Reviewed 05-15-2011) (Booklist, vol 107, number 18, p18)
  • A coming-of-age story of sorts, Jones's melodramatic latest (after The Untelling) chronicles the not-quite-parallel lives of Dana Lynn Yarboro and Bunny Chaurisse Witherspoon in 1980s Atlanta. Both girls—born four months apart—are the daughters of James Witherspoon, a secret bigamist, but only Dana and her mother, Gwen, are aware of his double life. This, Dana surmises, confers "one peculiar advantage" to her and Gwen over James's other family, with whom he lives full time, though such knowledge is small comfort in the face of all their disadvantages. Perpetually feeling second best, 15-year-old Dana takes up with an older boy whose treatment of her only confirms her worst expectations about men. Meanwhile, Chaurisse enjoys the easy, uncomplicated comforts of family, and though James has done his utmost to ensure his daughters' paths never cross, the girls, of course, meet, and their friendship sets their worlds toward inevitable (and predictable) collision. Set on its forced trajectory, the novel piles revelation on revelation, growing increasingly histrionic and less believable. For all its concern with the mysteries of the human heart, the book has little to say about the vagaries of what motivates us to love and lie and betray. (May) --Staff (Reviewed February 7, 2011) (Publishers Weekly, vol 258, issue 06, p)
  • /* Starred Review */ "My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist." So starts the third novel by the critically acclaimed Jones (The Untelling ). The first part is narrated by Dana, the daughter of his illicit second marriage. Dana and her mother, Gwen, always knew about the first family and that they came second. From a distance, they watch the first family, daughter Chaurisse and mother Laverne, going about their comfortable lives, unaware of James's secret life and getting the best of what James has to offer. Gwen scrapes by on her nurse's salary, while Dana can choose a magnet school or a summer camp only after Chaurisse has chosen, to insure that the girls don't meet. But eventually they do meet, first by accident at the science fair, with only Dana aware that Chaurisse is her half-sister. As their lives begin to intersect, the narrative is passed to Chaurisse, plain looking and a mediocre student, who's enchanted by the silver girl with the good hair who accepts her overtures of friendship. Things come to a head when the girls have car trouble on the way to a party, and James and Gwen both come riding to the rescue. Jones uses 1970s and 1980s African American society in Atlanta as a fully realized backdrop to the personal drama of a few people. VERDICT Highly recommended for all, but especially for readers of women's fiction and African American women writers. [See Prepub Alert, 11/22/10.]— Debbie Bogenschutz, Cincinnati State Technical & Community Coll. --Debbie Bogenschutz (Reviewed February 15, 2011) (Library Journal, vol 136, issue 3, p99)
  • In her third novel set in Atlanta, Jones (The Untelling, 2005, etc.) writes about two African-American half sisters, only one of whom knows that the other exists until their father's double life starts to unravel. When James Witherspoon, the owner of a successful limousine service, and Gwendolyn Yarboro have their marriage ceremony in 1969 four months after the birth of their baby Dana, Gwen knows that James already has a wife and an even younger baby. While James, who visits regularly if never often enough, and Gwen, a practical nurse, make sure Dana has every middle-class advantage, Dana grows up aware that her parents' "marriage" is a secret and that she cannot openly claim her father; James' devoted stepbrother Raleigh is listed on her birth certificate. Gwen and Dana habitually spy on James' legitimate wife Laverne and daughter Chaurisse, who live in blissful ignorance of James's bigamy. By adolescence, Dana, who attends a prestigious magnate high school and wants to attend Mount Holyoke, increasingly resents the plainer, less gifted Chaurisse, whose needs always seem to come first for James. After meeting Chaurisse by accident at a science fair, Dana finds ways for their paths to intersect. When she finally "befriends" Chaurisse, Chaurisse is thrilled that a popular girl likes her enough to visit her at home. Visits happen during hours Dana knows James will not be there. Dana's adolescent plans, for acceptance as much as revenge, inevitably go awry, but this is less a tragedy than a case of survival and making do. While Dana is at the novel's center, Jones gives both girls' points of view, allowing readers to empathize with each of James's families. Chaurisse may not know about Dana, but she is far from blissful in her ignorance, and her mother Laverne has endured more than her fair share of suffering. James is harder to fathom but also hard to hate. Jones beautifully evokes Atlanta in the 1980s while creating gritty, imperfect characters whose pain lingers in the reader's heart.(Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2011)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
387429
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Jones, Tayari
Dewey number
813/.6
Index
no index present
LC call number
PS3610.O63
LC item number
S56 2011
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • African American families
  • Polygamy
  • African American teenage girls
  • Sisters
  • Mothers and daughters
  • Fathers and daughters
  • Atlanta (Ga.)
Target audience
adult
Label
Silver sparrow, a novel by Tayari Jones
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
340 pages
Isbn
9781565129900
Lccn
2010048098
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • 664666689
  • (OCoLC)664666689
Label
Silver sparrow, a novel by Tayari Jones
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
340 pages
Isbn
9781565129900
Lccn
2010048098
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • 664666689
  • (OCoLC)664666689

Library Locations

    • James City County LibraryBorrow it
      7770 Croaker Road, Williamsburg, VA, 23188, US
      37.377573 -76.770995
    • Williamsburg LibraryBorrow it
      515 Scotland Street, Williamsburg, VA, 23185, US
      37.377573 -76.770995
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