Customer Reviews for

Silver Sparrow

Average Rating 4
( 137 )
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(62)

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(19)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

12 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

Silver Sparrow Soars!

With the opening line, "My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist," Tayari Jones skillfully pulls the reader into the world of two sisters: Dana and Chaurisse. Told in first person by each of the sisters, Silver Sparrow is absolutely remarkable. I realize that it do...
With the opening line, "My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist," Tayari Jones skillfully pulls the reader into the world of two sisters: Dana and Chaurisse. Told in first person by each of the sisters, Silver Sparrow is absolutely remarkable. I realize that it doesn't come out until May, but, trust me, you're going to want to pre-order it.

As James' outside child, Dana lives in a world where she's limited by a sister with whom she can't communicate. The product of James' "marriage" to her mother, Gwen, Dana can't work at Six Flags, can't attend a summer program, can't do this and can't do this. Why? Simply because there's a chance that in a big town that can be small like Atlanta, there's a chance that she could meet her sister. While Dana is well aware of Chaurisse's existence, Chaurisse is ignorant of Dana's.

Chaurisse is the product of James' marriage to Laverne. She is actually the daughter for whom I feel the most pity. She is not the pretty daughter and nothing about her stands out. Her parents married at extremely young ages and seem to be together more out of familiarity than anything else. While Dana's mother plays an active part in her life, I almost get the impression that Chaurisse is overlooked by both parents. Not only is she overlooked by her parents, she's overlooked by most people outside of their home as well.

Used to being overlooked, Chaurisse has a name for girls that seem to sparkle and shine; silver. Silver girls are naturally beautiful, but don't mind using makeup to enhance their beauty. Not only are they beautiful on the outside, they're beautiful on the inside. And because birds of feather flock together, they associate with other silver girls, not regular nobodies like her. But one day in the drugstore, Chaurisse meets a silver girl who does want to be her friend and their friendship will be life changing.

It was simply gut-wrenching at times to watch Dana be denied simple pleasures. Can you imagine living a life less than what you deserve because your father is a selfish man? As I kept reading, I repeatedly asked of James, "what kind of coward are you that you would ask a child to carry this burden?" Jones leads the reader through this world, allowing them to get so invested in the character that when she acts out, it feels justified. And when she's in pain, it's only natural for the reader to empathize.

What did you like about this book?
Tayari Jones weaves words together like a beautiful tapestry. I honestly had to put the book down the closer I got to the end because I wasn't ready to be done. Often in stories like this, readers feel the need to choose a side, someone has to be right and someone has to be wrong. It's virtually impossible to do that here.

What didn't you like about this book?
I really wanted James to be held more accountable for his actions. I wanted him to be punished and, with the exception of Dana, it seemed that all of the women were willing to forgive him.

What could the author do to improve this book?
Through Dana and Chaurisse, the reader learns the mother's opinions on what's going on and get glimpses into their thoughts. James felt like a character on the fringe, even though his actions were responsible for the drama happening. I would have loved to hear the story from his voice, in addition to the girls.

posted by Reads4Pleasure on March 17, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

8 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

nook-ers beware

do not download this. there is a problem with the digital copy and you will get 247 pages of the cover page and will have to go through several emails/phone calls before your money is refunded.

posted by 831952 on June 23, 2011

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Page 1 of 7
  • Posted March 17, 2011

    Silver Sparrow Soars!

    With the opening line, "My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist," Tayari Jones skillfully pulls the reader into the world of two sisters: Dana and Chaurisse. Told in first person by each of the sisters, Silver Sparrow is absolutely remarkable. I realize that it doesn't come out until May, but, trust me, you're going to want to pre-order it.

    As James' outside child, Dana lives in a world where she's limited by a sister with whom she can't communicate. The product of James' "marriage" to her mother, Gwen, Dana can't work at Six Flags, can't attend a summer program, can't do this and can't do this. Why? Simply because there's a chance that in a big town that can be small like Atlanta, there's a chance that she could meet her sister. While Dana is well aware of Chaurisse's existence, Chaurisse is ignorant of Dana's.

    Chaurisse is the product of James' marriage to Laverne. She is actually the daughter for whom I feel the most pity. She is not the pretty daughter and nothing about her stands out. Her parents married at extremely young ages and seem to be together more out of familiarity than anything else. While Dana's mother plays an active part in her life, I almost get the impression that Chaurisse is overlooked by both parents. Not only is she overlooked by her parents, she's overlooked by most people outside of their home as well.

    Used to being overlooked, Chaurisse has a name for girls that seem to sparkle and shine; silver. Silver girls are naturally beautiful, but don't mind using makeup to enhance their beauty. Not only are they beautiful on the outside, they're beautiful on the inside. And because birds of feather flock together, they associate with other silver girls, not regular nobodies like her. But one day in the drugstore, Chaurisse meets a silver girl who does want to be her friend and their friendship will be life changing.

    It was simply gut-wrenching at times to watch Dana be denied simple pleasures. Can you imagine living a life less than what you deserve because your father is a selfish man? As I kept reading, I repeatedly asked of James, "what kind of coward are you that you would ask a child to carry this burden?" Jones leads the reader through this world, allowing them to get so invested in the character that when she acts out, it feels justified. And when she's in pain, it's only natural for the reader to empathize.

    What did you like about this book?
    Tayari Jones weaves words together like a beautiful tapestry. I honestly had to put the book down the closer I got to the end because I wasn't ready to be done. Often in stories like this, readers feel the need to choose a side, someone has to be right and someone has to be wrong. It's virtually impossible to do that here.

    What didn't you like about this book?
    I really wanted James to be held more accountable for his actions. I wanted him to be punished and, with the exception of Dana, it seemed that all of the women were willing to forgive him.

    What could the author do to improve this book?
    Through Dana and Chaurisse, the reader learns the mother's opinions on what's going on and get glimpses into their thoughts. James felt like a character on the fringe, even though his actions were responsible for the drama happening. I would have loved to hear the story from his voice, in addition to the girls.

    12 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2011

    nook-ers beware

    do not download this. there is a problem with the digital copy and you will get 247 pages of the cover page and will have to go through several emails/phone calls before your money is refunded.

    8 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 28, 2011

    Excellent!

    Jones' Silver Sparow failed to disappoint me. Written beautifully she introduces the reader to each character and then graciously invites us to know them intimately. The complexities of each character's personality and their relationships with one another are laid before us carefully and with sensitivity. One can feel the raw emotion from their life experiences and can understand how each became who they are. While there's certainly pain in each character's life, themes of love, commitment, and a desire to do the right thing persist throughout the story. Jones has written about a very complicated situation as if she has experienced each perspective herself. Just excellent.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 19, 2011

    Worth the investment - A must have especially for 'Avid Readers'

    The story contains a topic that is known no matter color or station in life and is not discussed much today as we gather with our family members for celebrations, burials, etc. I salute Tayari for tackling such an intense topic and giving a voice to all the 'Silver Sparrows' in the world. I guarantee you will encounter many emotions and come away with a new understanding of the age old saying "We did what we thought best and gave what we had at the time." Through all our daily activities what every human being desires is to be heard, seen and loved. What I love most, is as you close the book your spirit will be lifted because you'll be reminded of the powerful song that contains this refrain: I sing because I'm happy, I sing because I'm free, For his eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me. I recommend you allow your daughters, nieces and any young girl you know read this story! My selfish wish is that perhaps we get a sequel *fingers crossed*. <This was not edited so pardon any errors.>

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 22, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great Book, Loved It!

    This book makes you feel like you are having a private conversation with the children of a bigamist. This book was so well written I almost cant believe its fiction. Its as if the story taken from something the author has seen or heard in her life. You will be totally captured from the first page. I did not expect to love it but I did. You read the novel feeling bad for Dana, one daughter of the bigamist. Then you wonder how many kids are out there torn and broken like this girl. The way the author describes the father, is to believable its scary. I don't want to give the story away and spoil it for anyone, but go buy it. Asap. Great for your library, great for your hs/college aged daughters, great for its take-away lessons, and great for a conversation piece or book club.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 4, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    This story begins through the eyes of Dana Lynn, a young girl of

    This story begins through the eyes of Dana Lynn, a young girl of color being raised in relatively poor circumstances. She and her mother don't live in poverty, but they are surviving on a single mother's nursing salary. As the first line in the book states quite bluntly, Dana's father is a bigamist, already married to another woman and yet married to her mother as well.

    The book reveals Dana's life with her mother Gwen, and what she knows of the life of her father's other family with his wife Laverne and other daughter Chaurisse. It was fascinating to see the story through Dana’s eyes, and to build your impression of Chaurisse and her mother and everything else through Dana, and then to suddenly have that shift a little over halfway through the story, and see things from Chaurisse’s perspective. I loved that about this story.

    Only 21 or so and already divorced, Gwen finds herself living in a rooming house and pregnant with a married man's child. Gwen has her baby and puts herself through school to become a nurse. Shortly after Dana's birth, James and Gwen marry in a neighboring state. Dana is raised knowing from a young age about her father's other family, and getting the sense that she must spend her life playing second fiddle to sister Chaurisse.

    However sister Chaurisse and the family know nothing of Dana and her mother. It isn't until grandmother Bunny is on her deathbed that her grandmother is finally told of Dana, and Dana is brought to meet her.

    Bunny was my favorite character, as brief as she was in the story. She wished her boys would have told her sooner of Dana's existence, and that she'd had time to get to know her.

    This is one of those books that can just leave a bad taste in your mouth, because you are so frustrated with the characters and the way they handle the events in their lives.

    And father James, while you give him credit for trying to be a part of his &quot;illegitimate&quot; daughter's life, you see the unfairness of it all. Dana is always given second best. She gets her father one day a week while here sister gets him every day. Throughout her life she has to sacrifice her wants for that of her sister (when her sister wants a summer job at the same place as Dana or wants to attend the same program, it is Dana that must forfeit her desire). And while her father and his wife Laverne make a good living and are able to provide their daughter Chaurisse with a comfortable life that include debutante balls, Dana lives in the projects, being raised on her mother's salary and whatever scraps her father tosses their way.

    James' brother Raleigh is sort of likable, but his general inaction and silence in the face of what his brother is doing to Dana and her mother is infuriating at times. He is his brother's accomplice in his duplicity, and James could not have pulled off the dual lives (one public and one secret) without Raleigh, who is even named as Dana's father on her birth certificate.

    My final word: This book was &quot;okay&quot;. I enjoyed the unique dual perspective, I was intrigued by the concept. But when it came down to it, I just didn't like the characters very much. Bunny was the only one I really cared for, and the daughter Chaurisse and uncle Raleigh I liked a bit. The writing style was okay, but not thoroughly engaging. It gets an &quot;eh&quot; from me. Kind of intriguing, but the characters are ultimately unlikable.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 19, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    This book is a must-read! I found this book browsing through





    This book is a must-read! I found this book browsing through Goodreads and the other reviews said such great things that I just had to read it. It’s broken down into two parts and each is told by one of James Witherspoon’s daughters. James is a bigamist and only ONE of his two daughters knows about the other one.




    From there, you just know that it is going to get intense. It got a little slow in the middle and the end felt rushed, but overall it was a great book. I read the second half a lot more quickly, but I’m not sure if that’s because the story got better or I liked the style of writing better (different narrator = different tone).




    Either way, your heart will break for Dana and, in my opinion, more so for Chaurisse. I guess at the end you have to pick a girl to root for.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2013

    Great story

    I can definitely relate to Dana. It's not easy being the secret child

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 24, 2013

    Dana's mother is the "other" woman, making Dana the ot

    Dana's mother is the &quot;other&quot; woman, making Dana the other daughter.  Dana struggles to live her life as a secret, having to ensure that she never crosses paths with her father's other daughter, Chaurisse.  Chaurisse lives her life as any other teenager, unaware of her father's secret life.  She feels safe in her family life and knows her parents love her.  But Chaurisse has her own struggles.  She is unable to stand out and finds little success in school, extra-curricular activities, and she has no true friend.  Until finally, she makes a new friend with a girl named Dana.




    Silver Sparrow is told in two parts.  It starts from Dana's perspective and progresses through Chaurisse's point of view.  Everything about this was wonderfully done.  There is a powerful tension and moving complexities that felt real.  The power of this book is not in the ending but in the journey to the inevitable.  The emotions captured by Ms. Jones were perfectly written.  I was captivated by the issues I had nevere considered.  Ms.  Jones does not focus on the actions of the adults but how those actions impacted the girls, shaping their insecurities and choices.  Surprisingly this isn't about good guys versus bad or even how a person deals with a tough issue.  Ms. Jones expertly tells a story that, though simple, makes the reader feel every emotion and feel as if she were living in the black middle class during the '80s. 




    Overall, Silver Sparrow tells an intriguing story simply and elegantly without veering to the melodramatic.  It is impossible to describe how amazing this book is so you should just go out and get it.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 14, 2013

    This book really hit home with me.  I wonder if I was the girl o

    This book really hit home with me.  I wonder if I was the girl other girls were watching. My father had an outside family.  My mother divorced him when my youngest brother entered hiigh
    school.  I refuse to have any connection to those other people, I didn't know they existed until my parents 
    divorced.   This story took me on a journey that I need to take. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 21, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I love the way Jones's characters are developed just enough so y

    I love the way Jones's characters are developed just enough so you can care about them, but with enough mystery so they seem human. The characters stayed true through and true.

    Excellent writing as always.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2013

    The ending was a bit abrupt. Left me with some questions. But ov

    The ending was a bit abrupt. Left me with some questions. But overall it was a good read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2012

    Highly recommended

    Ms. Jones has done a beautiful job of showing the two sides of life between children of the same father. I was on the edge of my seat and not sure who I supported more.

    Her ability to demonstrate compassion and weave the two stories together is truly remarkable.

    I highly recommend her books!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 24, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    THE PRODUCT OF MY FATHER'S SECRET I COULD NOT FINISH THIS BOOK

    THE PRODUCT OF MY FATHER'S SECRET I COULD NOT FINISH THIS BOOK FAST
    ENOUGH. WHAT A POWERFUL STORY. TAYARI JONES HAS DONE AN EXCELLENT JOB
    WRITING THIS NOVEL. TWO LITTLE GIRLS GROWING UP IN ATLANTA, NOT
    KNOWING THAT THEY ARE SISTERS IS JUST MIND BLOWING. DANA KNOWS ABOUT
    CHAURISSE AND HER MOTHER, BUT CHAURISSE KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT DANA. I CAN
    ONLY IMAGINE HOW DANA FELT WHEN SHE IS FINALLY TOLD THAT, SHE IS THE
    SECRET THAT HER FATHER IS KEEPING AND NOT CHAURISSE. HOW IS A LITTLE
    GIRL SUPPOSE TO ACCEPT THAT?? AFTER THAT REVELATION, THE BOOK JUST
    KEEPS GETTING DEEPER AND DEEPER. A FRIENDSHIP IS DEVELOPED AMONG THE
    GIRLS THAT IS UNLIKE ANY OTHER. IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A WOW BOOK, LOOK
    NO FUTHER, THIS IS THE BOOK FOR YOU. I HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS
    BOOK. ENJOY......

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 8, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    This book was well written from two points of view. The story is

    This book was well written from two points of view. The story is told by two daughters of the same man. One family is well aware of the other, the other is blissfully ignorant about the man
    s secret family. Jones has done a masterful job in telling each point of view. The ending is painful and real as secrets tend to cause way to much stress and strain on all parties involved. Each character is flawed and real. The story pulls you in and keeps you interested until the last page.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 27, 2014

    This author told this story from the perspective of all characte

    This author told this story from the perspective of all characters involved. How she did it and how she did it so we'll I'm still trying to figure out. Excellent book especially for anyone who ha ever ended up in some kind of love triangle.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2014

    Painful !

    Disappointing story, slow moving and often boring.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 10, 2014

    Good story, talented author

    Readers are in good hands with Tayari Jones. This tale of a bigamist's two families and the daughters he thinks he can keep from knowing each other is rich with insight even as it is propelled by inevitability.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2014

    Warriors den

    Warriors den

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  • Posted February 28, 2014

    I just finished reading Silver Sparrow. It is a novel written by

    I just finished reading Silver Sparrow. It is a novel written by Tayari Jones. This book is about two families who would have completely independent lives if it wasn't for one small detail. They have the same husband. The man married both women because he got them both pregnant. The second wife knew about the other wife and about their daughter. The first wife had no clue about the second wife or her daughter. 




    I can honestly say that I loved this book. I didn't want it to end. I love how she placed it in both of the daughter's perspectives. I feel it added a more clarifying point to the whole situation. I loved how much I got sucked into the book. I felt for both of the girls. I have to be honest. I had more sympathy for Dana than I did Chaurisse. At the end, I started realizing how spoiled Chaurisse truly was. 




    I feel there were certain parts that could have been told in more detail. They were written out perfectly without the details though. I also would have liked to seen a few chapters from the mothers' perspectives. I think that would have been pretty awesome. I understand why it was written the way it was though. 




    I fully recommend this book to anybody. It's a very powerful story. I loved it, and I'm sure others will love it just as much as I did. If I had the money to do so, I'd buy a copy for all my friends and family to read. I can't tell you enough how beautiful and powerful this story really is. Get a copy and find out for yourself. You won't regret it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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