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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
To award-winning television writer and producer Susan Fales-Hill, "Black Is Beautiful" is more than a catchphrase from the 1960s. It captures the essence of her extraordinary mother, Josephine Premice, the dazzling black actress whose life is celebrated in Always Wear Joy.
The product of a marriage that was "mixed" in more ways than one, the author describes life with her elegant, vivacious mother -- a Broadway star whose credits included Jamaica and Bubbling Brown Sugar -- and her wealthy father, a debonair WASP with a wandering eye. She recounts how she and her brother grew up in an extended family of Brahmin bluebloods, genteel, fun-loving Haitians, and superstar entertainers like "Aunt" Diahann Carroll and "Uncle" Richard Burton; and how her nurturing mother presided over the whole glamorous scene, determined to give her children the best of everything.
It was not until Fales-Hill was an adult that she discovered the extent of her mother's sacrifice. By then, Josephine was having difficulty finding work; her handsome husband of 27 years had left her for a younger woman; and she was beset by financial and health problems. Through it all, she never lost her optimism or her love for life, and she continued to guide her daughter along the road to happiness and self-fulfillment. (As executive producer for the TV show A Different World, Fales-Hill's greatest satisfaction came from finding roles for Josephine and her "semper fabulous" coterie of friends.) A daughter's valentine to her remarkable mother, Always Wear Joy tells the inspiring tale of one woman's struggle to face life's challenges with courage, dignity, and amazing grace. Anne Markowski