Crossing over Jordan

Crossing over Jordan

by Linda Beatrice Brown
     
 

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Georgia McCloud lives to see emancipation. Her daughter Sadie discovers that, though she might be free, she is powerless to break with a man who abuses her. At the center of their communal pain is Sadie's intelligent, beautiful, ambitious daughter Story, who wants more from life than she's been led to expect. Her uncompromising desire for "safety" corrupts Story to… See more details below

Overview

Georgia McCloud lives to see emancipation. Her daughter Sadie discovers that, though she might be free, she is powerless to break with a man who abuses her. At the center of their communal pain is Sadie's intelligent, beautiful, ambitious daughter Story, who wants more from life than she's been led to expect. Her uncompromising desire for "safety" corrupts Story to her very soul, dooming her to wander an emotional desert, repressed, rigid, enslaved to propriety. Her daughter Hermine must then challenge the lie that life is hardship. But can Hermine finally break the cycle of oppression that has chained the women of her family? Can she alone cross over Jordan? Reminiscent of the early work of Alice Walker and Gloria Naylor, Crossing Over Jordan deftly explores the themes of the mother-daughter relationship, the emotional scars left by history, the struggle to be authentic in the throes of great personal pain, and the transforming power of love. Linda Beatrice Brown has a wise, moving new voice that, once heard, must be embraced.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Brown's novel follows the women of one African American family from Reconstruction to the mid-21st century. (Aug.)
Library Journal
Moving back and forth between the years 1873 and 2012, this sensitively told account explores the lives of four generations of African American women. At the center of the novel is Story Temple, determined to have a better life than her mother but so wounded by growing up with an abusive father and a powerless mother that she becomes emotionally barren. Imparting a distinctive voice to each of her women characters, Brown (Rainbow Roun' Mah Shoulder, Carolina Wren Pr., 1984) leads readers to an understanding of the dilemmas and ambiguities of Story's relationship with both her daughter and her mother. She also deals with the larger issue of the devastation that the institution of slavery continues to wreak on African American men. The book loses a bit of steam at the end, and the supporting characters tend to be indistinguishable, but this is an entertaining and enlightening novel. Recommended for fiction collections.-Nancy Pearl, Washington Ctr. for the Book, Seattle
School Library Journal
YA-This novel sings with a sort of haunting clarity and honesty reminiscent of Toni Morrison's Beloved (Knopf, 1987). Crossing Over Jordan explores the inner lives and troubled psyches of four generations of African American women from the immediate postbellum years to the 21st century. Brown weaves the interconnected tales as each generation, trapped by the iron-clad fists of racist and sexist oppression, strives to escape the limitations society imposes. In essence, they attempt to cross over the river Jordan. Having watched her mother become a victim of her father's physical and emotional abuse, Story Temple McCloud remains determined never to allow anyone to get close to her. Most importantly, she wants to construct a world in which opportunities abound and propriety becomes of utmost importance. Trying to adhere to strict middle-class social decorum, she constructs a world full of lies and deceit, one that nearly destroys her daughter. Raised to believe that she was orphaned and that Story is her aunt, Hermine struggles to claim her vision of life and to forgive her mother. The nonlinear narrative structure will challenge YAs; however, they will be rewarded for their efforts. A lyrical, well-crafted book.-Michele L. Simms-Burton, George Washington University, Washington, DC
Joanne Wilkinson
At the center of this expansive generational saga, which follows the women in one black family from the days of slavery to the year 2012, is Story Temple Green. Raised by her abusive minister father and her fearful, overworked mother, the emotionally scarred Story grows up with a twisted sense of propriety. When she discovers that her younger, unmarried sister is pregnant, she plans to pressure her into getting an abortion; however, in order for her plan to work, she must first get rid of her sister's boyfriend, Luther, so she seduces him. When her sister dies as a result of the badly botched procedure, and people begin to talk, Story marries Luther and vows never to think of her sister again. Interestingly, there is a scene in the middle of the narrative involving Story that is so powerful and so perverse that it practically overwhelms the rest of the novel. Still, Story is riveting, a character so unremittingly cruel that her ultimate redemption is almost deflating.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780345378576
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/24/1995
Edition description:
1st ed
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.69(w) x 9.45(h) x (d)

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