I loved or strongly liked the eight stories that made up this book.
Brownies (3.5 stars)- A tale of a young girl going along with the crowd to bully and harass a separate group of brownies that are made up of young Caucasian girls. I though this story had a bit too much going on with it though I enjoyed it. I think it was because the main character was worried about not fitting in and also with a poem and life of a girl in her brownie troop as well. With an ending that seemed to be about much bigger things than what the story showed, I was a bit puzzled by it.
Every Tongue Shall Confess (4 stars)-Reading about a nurse named Clareese who "testifies" about Jesus and God even while at work had me shaking my head. I seriously know people who do this. As I tell people all of the time, God and I are good, I don't need to sit and talk to you about my faith. This story made me hard cringe for Clareese a few times. She definitely seemed lost and seemed to want something bigger than acceptance at her church and to testify about God.
Our Lady of Peace (5 stars)-A story about a woman who starts teaching at an inner city school in Baltimore. This was heartbreaking in so many parts.
The Ant of the Self (5 stars)- Reading about a young man and his father who go to D.C.'s Million Man March in order to sell birds. Yeah that at first made me scratch my head. But reading about the young man's issues with his father, with the whole thought process behind the million man march, with being pushed to a certain extent into a white only world and not enjoying being the only black person that is invited to play in there. I know that right now that a lot of older black adults have an issue with how the younger generation (including me) seem to ignore the struggle that has come before and does not seem appreciative of everything that was done to give us opportunities. This story was one of my favorites.
Drinking Coffee Elsewhere (5 stars)- Once again another story about a young black girl at college who seems hellbent on ruining her chances. Reading about her unlikely friendship with a girl named Heidi who she seems to be running from in order to deny a piece of herself made this my second favorite story in this collection.
Speaking in Tongues (4.5 stars)- The main character Tia is trying her her real mother and imagines a perfect life before the reality of her situation comes crashing in. This story was much longer than the other and wow. It was really good and shocking.
You could only truly speak in tongues when all worldly matters were emptied from your mind, or else there was no room for God.
Geese (4.5 stars)- Character named Dina who is leaving Baltimore for Tokyo because in her head, Japan has to be better than where she is leaving and what she is doing right now. Or is it?
The plan was not well though-out, she admitted that much.
Or rather, it wasn't really a plan at all, but a feeling, a nebulous fluffy thing that had started in her chest, spread over her heart like a fog.
It was sparked by movies in which she'd seen Japanese people bowing ceremoniously, torsos seesawing; her first Japanese meal, when she'd turned twenty, and how she'd marveled at the sashimi resting on it's bed of rice, rice that lay on a lacquered dish the color of green tea.
She did not want to say it, because it made no practical sense, but in the end she went to Japan for the delicate sake cups, resting in her hand like a blossom; she went to Japan for loveliness.
Doris is Coming (4 stars)-Reading about Doris Yates and her thinking about the world coming to an end on New Year's Day 1961. Apparently the countdown to the end of the world started in 1948, and how a preacher put the rapture happening in 1955, and when it didn't occur, recalculated and had it happening on the last day in 1961. This sounds so familiar to me. Or at least I recall something similar happening back a few years ago. I went out in D.C. at happy hour with friends and there were a ton of people wearing yellow shirts proclaiming the end of the world. I remember just feeling sorry for these people. Same sentiment I had for Doris during this story which also segued into her going to school and being questioned for not believing enough.