by Bernice L. McFadden
Plume (January 2000)
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.
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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