Customer Reviews for

Silver Sparrow

Average Rating 4
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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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  • 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 "illegitimate" 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 "okay". 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 "eh" 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 October 8, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    3 stars

    Really makes you wonder how some people can think half a man is better than no man at all. Author really brings the characters to life.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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