Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Sugar by Bernice McFadden

Sugar
by Bernice L. McFadden
Plume (January 2000)
229 pages
Historical Fiction
Source: Received from author (thanks, Bernice!)

Summary in a Sentence:

Pearl Taylor, a church-going wife and mother in 1950s Bigelow, Arkansas, and her new neighbor Sugar, a young prostitute, form an unlikely friendship that changes their lives and the lives of everyone in their small community.

My Thoughts:

I first heard of Sugar when I read Mel's review over at Gerbera Daisy Diaries. I knew this was a book I wanted to read, and soon. Coincidentally, Ms. McFadden emailed me about 2 weeks later asking if she could send me a copy of her book. I responded with an emphatic 'yes'! Most books don't usually make me cry or elicit an extremely strong response within me, but this one most definitely did both.

The mood of the book is set immediately as it opens with the horrific murder of Jude Taylor. This murder becomes an integral part of the storyline concerning Sugar and Jude's mother, Pearl Taylor. Sugar and Pearl are probably a most unlikely pair of friends- Sugar is a rough and tumble, brash and in-your-face young woman who sells her body, where Pearl is a complacent, obedient, docile housewife who has been quietly nursing her grief over her daughter's death for well over a decade.
"Knowing each other's past helped both Pearl and Sugar. Secret pains, now told, bonded the women together tighter than anything else in this world."
Despite their differences, Pearl and Sugar develop a familial bond in which they confide in one another, much to the chagrin of Pearl's fellow church friends.Inevitably, small-town gossip ensues.

Sugar is a gritty story, full of crime, murder, sex, and secrets. Despite its sometimes graphic content, do not be put off. There is a dignity and grace in the writing that to me is reminiscent of Morrison and Hurston. McFadden has captured the feel of the 1950s Deep South and the people that inhabited it.


~ I read this book for the Women Unbound Challenge  and the What's In A Name Challenge~

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14 comments:

Amanda said...

Melissa from Book Nut reviewed this today too! Doesn't sound like one I could handle...

A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

Oh, I forgot about that. I need to add her to the review list...

Aarti said...

Ooh, I'm not sure if this is one for me, but I really love the cover! it sounds like an interesting premise, too- I bet there is a lot that could be explored.

Gerbera Daisy Mom said...

We're you disappointed by the ending?? I"ve had several friends complain about it -- but I loved it from start to finish.

A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

Gerbera~ I answered you in an email because I didn't want to put any spoilers in the comments :)

Kristi said...

I'm interested! Sounds very powerful and raw.

Hannah Stoneham said...

Sounds like a very interesting and rewarding read.

thanks for sharing

hannah

Gerbera Daisy Mom said...

I have an award for you!!

http://gerberadaisydiaries.blogspot.com/2010/03/im-not-worth.html

Deb said...

Stopping by from Cym Lowell's blog.

I'm reading Glorious by Bernice McFadden right now. It is so good!

Thanks for your review.

brichtabooks said...

Bernice McFadden had emailed me as well wanting to send this book, but it never arrived! It sounds a little hard to handle, but like one I could take. Maybe it will show up in the mail soon!

A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

Oh, no! Perhaps it's on its way.

Ashley said...

This book sounds great! Adding it to my to buy pile! Great review!

Zibilee said...

I have this one too, and am so excited about reading it! I am glad you loved it and that it made you feel such strong emotions. Great review. I will have to come back and compare notes after I have read it!

Anna said...

I love books set in the South. This sounds heavy and emotional and right up my alley!

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

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