Singing in the Comeback Choir

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Overview

Forgiveness is the key to the recovery of the soul. It is this lesson that the characters in Bebe Moore Campbell's poignant new novel must learn. Life is good for Maxine McCoy. She is the executive producer of a popular talk show, married to a man she loves, and pregnant with their child. But her security is shattered when a call from the caretaker of her seventy-six-year-old grandmother, who reared the orphaned Maxine, summons her back to the old neighborhood she'd rather forget. Once a brilliant singing star, ...
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Overview

Forgiveness is the key to the recovery of the soul. It is this lesson that the characters in Bebe Moore Campbell's poignant new novel must learn. Life is good for Maxine McCoy. She is the executive producer of a popular talk show, married to a man she loves, and pregnant with their child. But her security is shattered when a call from the caretaker of her seventy-six-year-old grandmother, who reared the orphaned Maxine, summons her back to the old neighborhood she'd rather forget. Once a brilliant singing star, Maxine's grandmother, Lindy, has become a smoking, drinking, embittered woman whose glorious voice has atrophied from disuse. The aspiring community Maxine grew up in is now a blighted, crime-infested area, its residents resigned to living narrow lives of fear and despair. Maxine is determined to move her grandmother away from the hopelessness around her, but Lindy is prepared to fight for her independence. When an opportunity arises for Lindy to sing again, both she and Maxine understand that Lindy and her neighborhood are worthy of restoration.
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Editorial Reviews

Wendy Sealey
In her latest novel, [Campbell] masterfully spins a careful plot from which emerges a well-crafted and engaging work that grapples with life's most important issues: love, trust, and the value of faith. -- Quarterly Black Review
Christine Muhlke

Bebe Moore Campbell, the author of Brothers and Sisters and Your Blues Ain't Like Mine, has done an extraordinary thing with her new novel, Singing in the Comeback Choir -- she's crafted a smooth, deeply witty novel that will appeal to fans of both Terry McMillan and Dorothy Allison. Her eye for detail and ear for colloquial black language -- from No'th Ca'lina to South Central -- brings her fiction alive. Best of all, beneath Campbell's easygoing style lies an intelligent, heartfelt story that packs a surprising emotional punch.

Campbell's protagonist, Maxine McCoy, has made it from the streets of Philadelphia, where she was raised by her flamboyant jazz-singer grandmother, Lindy, to the flowering hills of Hollywood, where she produces a talk show that tries (and sometimes fails) not to be sleazy. Ignoring the twinges of a spiritual conflict that stems from wanting to help less-fortunate blacks -- like the hopeless ghetto teens she taught while trying to break into television -- and wanting to make it in the soulless world of television, Maxine knows she'd "come too far and fought too hard to take [her] title for granted." She and her handsome, successful, dishwashing(!) husband are trying to heal the wounds of a miscarriage and infidelity when Maxine is told she has to pull the show out of a ratings slump or look for another job and find a new caretaker for 76-year-old Lindy, who is consoling herself after a stroke with scotch, Kools and heavy doses of Carmen McRae. Putting her job on the line, Maxine returns to her childhood home, where she tries to get Lindy to straighten up and fly right and leave her now-dangerous neighborhood. In the graffiti-covered house, Maxine's "Harriet-Tubman-Mary-McLeod-Bethune-Lift- Every-Voice-And-We-Shall-Overcome complex" kicks in, and soon she's trying to bring both the neighborhood and her once-fiery grandmother back to life.

Music plays an important part in this book's language and metaphors, as well as its plot. Campbell's gift for rhythm and melody keep the pages flying, with sentences like, "Lindy's voice was a skater, dipping, leaping, twirling, cool as the ice it floated across. Cool. Cool. Cool." Divas like Sarah Vaughan and Billie Holiday are invoked to set Lindy's mood. Characters and settings are vividly constructed, all representative of the different worlds Maxine has fought to exist in and moves so easily between. Especially funny (and scary) are her glimpses into the world of talk shows.

The unfortunate question asked of most books written by popular female African-American writers is, "Is it literature?" In Campbell's case, the answer is, "Not exactly, but who the hell cares?" I devoured this book in an evening and went to bed wet with tears. Singing in the Comeback Choir speaks to readers of all races, and it carries Campbell's signal message: With love, laughter, hope and hard work, women can turn shit around. -- Salon

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A sheen of emotional slickness prevents Campbell's disappointing third novel from achieving the resonance of her earlier work (Brothers and Sisters; Your Blues Ain't Like Mine). Two women struggle to overcome betrayal. Professionally successful and newly pregnant, Maxine McCoy, an African American TV producer, tries to regain marital trust after her husband's brief infidelity. During a sweeps period that will determine her talk show's future, Maxine leaves L.A. and returns to North Philadelphia to attend to Malindy Walker, the grandmother who raised her. Once a moderately famous club singer, Lindy is depressed and rebellious after a recent mild stroke; she also continues to nurse deep resentment for the manager who swindled her. An invitation to sing at an important music festival seems just the stimulus Lindy needs, yet she refuses either to participate or to move out of her declining neighborhood despite Maxine's repeated urging to do both. Just as a small accidental house fire shakes Lindy from her emotional paralysis, Maxine must leave Lindy on her own when she returns to her job. Amid professional havoc and personal doubts, a chance encounter with a former student helps Maxine discover inner peace, which she uses to help herself and Lindy leave the past behind and move happily forward. Campbell does a nice job of drawing the intriguing complexities of Maxine and Lindy's relationship, but the subtlety that distinguishes the best passages is markedly absent from most of the book, which is undermined by broad characterizations and an implausibly neat conclusion.
Library Journal
At 37, African American Maxine McCoy's plate is full. She's newly pregnant and fearful of another miscarriage, trying to rebuild trust in her unfaithful but regretful husband and worried about the grandmother who raised her and still lives in a failing north Philadelphia neighborhood after suffering a small stroke. As executive producer of a television talk show, Maxine has nurtured the host and raised ratings, but cancellation looms and the pending sweeps are critical. Then her grandmother's paid companion leaves, and Maxine goes to her beloved grandma, once a renowned singer who's lost both her zest for living and her singing voice. Struggling to meet all her commitments, Maxine is torn between her mentor's admonition to follow the money and her growing desire to follow her heart. In her third novel, Campbell (Brothers and Sisters, LJ 8/94) dwells less on racial issues than on human problems, particularly those faced by modern women working outside the home. Campbell tells a fine feel-good story, and her audience is bound to embrace it. [BOMC Main selection; Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/1/97.]Michele Leber, Fairfax Cty. P.L., Va.
School Library Journal
YA-Maxine McCoy is a successful television producer in L.A., but half of her heart is back on Sutherland Street in a decaying section of Philadelphia. There, her grandmother Lindy, a former blues singer, has recovered from a small stroke but, against doctor's orders, is drinking and smoking far too much. Maxine's TV show is slipping in the ratings, but she finds time for a trip to Philly to check on Lindy, who raised her, and needs help, even if she won't admit it. Maxine needs help too; her husband has had a brief affair that destroyed her trust in him. She is pregnant and, after one miscarriage, is afraid for her good fortune. Lindy is depressed and bored, and when she is invited to sing in a music festival, she is both elated and fearful. A trio of unforgettable musicians help her get ready for her last performance. This is Maxine's story, the story of a black woman who has made it big but hasn't forgotten her roots, or let success overshadow her loving, caring nature. It is also Lindy's story; she yearns for one more chance, but finally realizes she needs help, and accepts it. The minor characters are also drawn with compassion and humor. YAs will find dynamic role models in these strong, black women and the men who love them.-Molly Connally, Kings Park Library, Fairfax County, VA
Betsy Groban
In her latest novel, Bebe Moore Campbell is back on the turf she explored so well in her previous one, Brothers and Sisters: the world of upwardly mobile blacks successfully making their way in corporate America yet experiencing a sharp sense of dislocation from their roots. -- New York Times Book Review
Kirkus Reviews
Campbell (Brothers and Sisters, 1994, etc.) continues her thoughtful exploration of contemporary black life, this time featuring a female TV producer torn between her upwardly mobile L.A. existence and the crumbling Philadelphia neighborhood where she grew up. Maxine McCoy, married, pregnant, and the executive producer of the high-profile Ted Graham Show, has to juggle her talk show responsibilities with caretaking, at long-distance, her aging grandmother, the once well-known singer Lindy Walker. When Maxine gets word that Pearl, the friend who's been watching over Lindy since the old woman's mild stroke, is going back south, Maxine has to take off during sweeps week, risking the displeasure of her colleagues, to tend to her grandmother in Philadelphia. Her first impulse is to move Lindy into an assisted-living center. But Lindy will have nothing to do with it. When Maxine's own mother, Millicent, died, Lindy took Maxine in, eventually giving up her singing career for the financial security of practical nursing. Lindy vowed to do for her granddaughter what she was unable or unwilling to do for her own daughter Millicent. Now, after spending time in her old neighborhood, Maxine realizes that, while drugs and crime have infiltrated Lindy's block, the sense of community has remained intact. And as she struggles to put the elements of her own life into perspectiveher feelings about work, about her unpredictable husband, and about prospective motherhoodshe discovers the redeeming quality of community involvement and the healing that comes from a sense of purpose. Lindy's own salvation ultimately comes from getting back in touch with her music, whence the novel's title. Rich and fluidstorytelling, peopled with believably illuminating characters.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425166628
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 6/1/1999
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 4.34 (w) x 6.76 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Bebe Moore Campbell was a bestselling author and a journalist. Her nonfiction work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Ms., Essence, Black Enterprise, Ebony, Working Mother, USA Weekend, and Adweek, among other publications. She was a regular contributor to National Public Radio.

Bebe Moore Campbell was the author of such national, critically acclaimed bestsellers as Brothers and Sisters, Singing in the Comeback Choir, Your Blues Ain't Like Mine, and What You Owe Me as well as the award-winning children’s book, Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry and the recently published Stompin’ at the Savoy.

Campbell was born and grew up in Philadelphia and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, where she earned a bachelor of science degree in elementary education. She taught elementary and middle school for five years. She is survived by her husband, Ellis Gordon, Jr., her daughter, the actress Maia Campbell, and a son, Ellis Gordon III.

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Read an Excerpt


Chapter One


the pillow seemed to be calling her name. Lying in bed, she felt casual and unrushed, and it took her a few moments to remember that she was right in the middle of a workweek. She had to get up soon, but she wanted to enjoy the moment. Besides, there was no way she could move without waking her husband. Her back was pressing against his chest, his arms were crisscrossing her breasts and resting against her belly, and his legs, wrapped around hers, were holding her tight. The closeness of his body was soothing to her, like a slow song just getting into the groove.

could best extricate herself from. She wasn't a small woman, but Satchel's body was a human tree trunk. She wriggled a bit, but his arms didn't give. Then she glanced over her shoulder at him. His eyes were shut. His face was serene. His lips were twitching. Maxine started to laugh.

her stomach, and she knew she was going to throw up. It was a feeling she'd become accustomed to over the last three months. "Satchel, let me up. Quick."

kept his hand on the back of her neck, and even while she vomited, the comfort of his fingers stroking her wasn't entirely lost. Only a little came up, and when she was finished she felt better, as though a too tight collar had been loosened. Her doctor had told her she'd stop feeling sick soon; it was the first time she'd vomited all week. Satchel rinsed a washcloth and began wiping her face. The coolness against her skin, the effortless transition from sickness to health, sharpened her senses, making her conscious of the happiness and gratitude that filled her, even though she wasn't looking forward to the day ahead. She opened the window next to the sink. The early-April air that floated inside was chilly and a little sweet.

edge of the tub, next to Satchel. The porcelain was cold against her bare bottom. He took her hands in his.

fiber, the works."

back to extenuating circumstances which were out of your control."

on his own. She'd come to depend upon his insight and to respect his survival politics. "What are you going to be doing?"

East Hell. They take living through and off a child to another level. Very ugly. Ten years from now she'll be hiring me to sue them."

rest of the money. They're both her `managers.' Please let our child be a nerd with yearnings for the hallowed halls of ivy," Satchel said. He was looking at her breasts. Maxine folded her arms across her chest and lowered her head.

for nine, yet the fullness of her soon-to-be-maternal breasts excited him and made her shy.

work yet?" he asked.

She didn't move. Satchel slid closer to her and kept stroking her fingers as though he had all the time in the world. She rested her head against his shoulder. "Almost forgot," she said, then stood abruptly, and her relaxed feeling evaporated as fast as music when the band goes home.

tilt of her head, became businesslike. Professional. The synapses in her brain turned into computer keys, clicking, clicking. Without even putting on her suit, she was transformed into a woman with a comma and a title after her name. Executive Producer. Her second skin.

the television on. "It's a short segment. Two or three minutes," Maxine said.

very tall. Television made him appear larger than life. What they didn't realize was that it wasn't his body but his personality that loomed beyond the confines of the screen. Ted's megawatt smile--equal parts good cheer and good teeth--seemed to leap out and pull people to him. Today he wore a bright multicolored sweater over a tie and shirt. The bright hues complemented his ruddy, boyish face. His expression said: I'm the party; let's have a ball.

his three minutes in front of a camera.

that men are drooling in their oatmeal every morning as they watch you." His voice was friendly and easygoing. "Don't ask me how I'm privileged with such information," he said, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, a long, exaggerated movement, "but just take it from me, Kim: you're making the cereal soggy all over southern California." He flashed his sunny smile, and the anchor giggled.

but I understand that you have another interest, that the world isn't aware of yet. You're the chair of this year's Special Olympics."

caring person. His riveted stare paid silent homage to her beauty, her intellect. Kim shifted in her seat and moved a little closer to him.

of the needs of the handicapped,

touch Ted's wrist very quickly. "What's changed in the world of talk shows since you started?"

are close to people's hearts." His eyes were wide open, guileless.

what's bothering us as a nation. For example, we recently taped a story, which will air soon, about a woman who gave her baby up for adoption and now wants her back."

for years and are struggling to reenter their children's lives."

to talk with a convicted killer on death row, as we discuss the pros and cons of the death penalty."

a hard run. Seeing him interviewed made her anxious, but now she could relax. When he did well, it was a testimony to her judgment and guidance. Ted had the raw talent, but she had shaped his malleable charisma and charm into a more marketable product. His success underscored her own and reminded her how far she'd come from a scarred brick row house in North Philadelphia.

that Maxine lived with Lindy, her grandmother, after her mother died. For the first seven years, Lindy raised her in between singing for their supper in nightclubs, at concerts and revues, up and down the East Coast. She'd appeared on television too. Maxine could remember pieces of her earlier life, with her mother. But her real growing up took place with Lindy. They had years of feast and others of famine. Yet even during the bad times, her grandmother managed to instill in Maxine hope for the future and enough drive and ambition to go after more than North Philly could give her.

the warm spray and the soapy lather and the feel of the washcloth against her skin more since she'd become pregnant. She liked looking at her body, especially when she was wet, and rubbing her hands across her belly, touching her breasts. It was true: they were fuller, overflowing her A cups when she put on her bra, and her stomach looked rounder too. Even though this pregnancy seemed to be progressing normally, all she had to do was think about how the first had ended unexpectedly, in pain, blood, and tears, to realize that there were no guarantees. Please don't let me miscarry, she prayed.

in the bedroom they used for working out. She stood in the open doorway and watched as his tall body flowed into the slow, sinewy patterns of tai chi. Maxine could tell that he'd gone into his "zone." His dark eyes were closed; his wide mouth was relaxed and open. His elegant movements seemed incongruous for such a big, rough-looking man. His neck was too thick for her to circle with her hands. He had a full head of coarse hair, and his face was more friendly than handsome; but there was something besides friendliness that made most women look twice.

She sensed immediately that his solidity was more than physical. Men appeared to like him, and he had a lot of "play" sisters, who wanted to check her out and make sure she wasn't going to break their brother's heart. She learned to trust them and came to admire Satchel because women who weren't in love with him cared about his heart. It was one of his "girlfriends" who'd told her that he'd worked at night and on weekends during high school to help support his mother and two sisters after his father became ill. Maxine was impressed but not surprised. She could tell that there had been at least one Goliath in his past and that he had never backed down from any giant.

hanging on the back of the door and tell me if that tie goes."

"Looks good. Do you have a meeting tonight?"

her friends. He ironed his own clothes, cleaned a kitchen better than she could, and didn't mind cooking. "I'll fix something," she said.

Why don't I get us some?"

soon be the baby's room, trying to envision the transformation. They had agreed that the workout room was the best choice for the nursery, since it got plenty of light and faced the backyard. The only other bedroom would be put to use, as well.

she'll be in the guest room for at least a few weeks," Maxine said.

nuts, but Maxine couldn't imagine having a baby without Lindy's being there to help her; she'd be so happy when she heard the news. Her grandmother would want to be with her. "Of course she'll come."

an old Ojays song in his loud, decidedly off-key voice. She poked her head into the bathroom. "See you," she called.

newly remodeled kitchen. Looking around, she felt pleased. In five years they'd converted their large Spanish stucco house, from the dark "needs a little TLC" fixer-upper that the broker had sold them, into an elegant home. Satchel had set a place for her at the table in the adjacent breakfast room, with a bowl, a package of instant oatmeal, a banana, and a glass of skim milk. Her vitamins were on a paper napkin. Maxine mixed water with the oatmeal and put it in the microwave. She ate quickly, drank the milk, swallowed the vitamins, and slipped the banana into her purse. On her way out, she stopped to gaze through the picture window, admiring her rose- and azalea-filled garden, the pool, and the panoramic view of the city below. The sight from her hilltop home always made her think she was about to take flight. It was exhilarating, a good start to a hard day.

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Interviews & Essays

On Thursday, February 19th, barnesandnoble.com welcomed Bebe Moore Campbell to discuss SINGING IN THE COMEBACK CHOIR.


Moderator: We are pleased to have Bebe Moore Campbell here tonight to discuss her book SINGING IN THE COMEBACK CHOIR. Ms. Campbell, do you have any opening remarks?

Bebe Moore Campbell: I am on the beginning of my book tour, and I am gratified by the responses of my readers. Thanks for continuing to support me.


Arlene from St. Louis: In this book the successful main character is forced to return home but learns something from the experience. Do you really think it's necessary for African-Americans to go back home to be successful?

Bebe Moore Campbell: I don't think it is necessary or even possible for black people to live only in black communities. I do think it is important that all of us remain connected to these communities, if only emotionally so. Where there are businesses there, we should support them. I think to disengage emotionally from the communities that nurtured us is a mistake.


Jill from Beverly Hills, CA: Did you choose a talk-show career for Maxine because of the skewed representations that talk shows present to the public?

Bebe Moore Campbell: I wanted to create a character who is conflicted about being in a profession that gave her a great deal of status. We are such a media-conscious society that anyone working in the upper levels of TV production is deemed a success. I wanted a character who questioned the meaning of such success and yearned for work that would give her emotional gratification.


John from Kansas City: Jazz and the impact it had on Lindy plays a predominant role in your book. What do you think of rap music and the affect it has on people today?

Bebe Moore Campbell: I like the poetry of rap and the fact that so many young people who aspire to be rappers have to be writers and poets. Rap is encouraging young people to be creative and to read. I don't like the impact of gangsta' rap. I think it has sometimes created violence among our youth. On the other hand, I do like the realness of some of the rappers. This music has created an open, honest forum that allows young people to express their feelings. It has given society a new kind of freedom of expression.


Lauren from Santa Monica: I've heard you on NPR. I've read a lot about how public radio and television should be privatized. What do you think about the subject?

Bebe Moore Campbell: I think in order to earn much-needed revenue, NPR and public TV are going to be forced to take on more and more sponsorship from various businesses and foundations. I hope most will be satisfied with a mere mention of their product as opposed to full-blown commercials. To privatize these entities will mean they will become more profit-driven. I think that would ruin the chances for the types of programs that have become their specialties.


Sarah from New York: I just got SINGING IN THE COMEBACK CHOIR and I loved it. I saw on the back of the book that Washington Post Book World said you will be remembered as the most important African-American novelist of this century -- except for, maybe, Ralph Ellison and James Baldwin.What did you make of that when you read it for the first time, and what do you think of it today?

Bebe Moore Campbell: I send the woman who wrote that a check every month. Seriously, I think I am still aspiring to live up to her words.


Michael from San Francisco, CA: You portray Lindy as a churchgoer. Do you really think the church can turn around a lot of the problems that exist today without alienating people who aren't moral according to church doctrines?

Bebe Moore Campbell: Lindy wasn't a churchgoer. She was a "backslider." I think churches can be relevant and influential if they have the proper leadership. I am sure Lindy and any other thinking person wouldn't remain part of a church that doesn't serve her needs.


Margo from Washington, D.C.: As a mother, do you feel that you've been able to teach your children to be enterprising, successful adults in today's society and yet still be aware and respectful of their heritage?

Bebe Moore Campbell: Both my daughter and my stepson saw my husband and me working hard to be productive adults. We were good role models for going after what we wanted. I also made them learn about black history even when they didn't want to. I remember locking them in the bedroom and making them watch African American history specials while they wailed in protest. So I think they are balanced in both respects.


Mary from Huntsville, Alabama: Since you live in L.A., would you ever consider having one of your books made into a movie? Who would you cast for Maxine?

Bebe Moore Campbell: I hope my book becomes a film. Halle Berry, Angela Bassett, Vanessa Williams come to mind for the role of Maxine.


Tonya from Cleveland, OH: What do you think about the portrayal of single-parent families in the media?

Bebe Moore Campbell: I think such portrayals probably are not balanced. There is a tendency to view such families as in trouble, when in fact they may be providing a healthy environment for children. I do, however, believe that the two-parent family gives the most support to a child. Still, single parents do manage to rear successful children. I know my mother did...


Kelly from Denver, Colorado: Do you think it's fair to be labeled an African-American woman writer when Caucasian writers aren't labeled by their race?

Bebe Moore Campbell: I don't mind being called what I am. I do mind the implication that because I am a black female writer, my work is only to be read by other black women. My books are for everyone.


Dan from Detroit, MI: Do you always feel that your newest book is your favorite book? Do you have favorites?

Bebe Moore Campbell: I don't have favorite books. Lindy from SINGING IN THE COMEBACK CHOIR and Lily from YOUR BLUES AIN'T LIKE MINE are my favorite characters.


Darren from Tulsa, OK: How did you get your first book published?

Bebe Moore Campbell: The catalyst for my first book, SUCCESSFUL WOMEN, ANGRY MEN was a magazine article of the same title that I wrote for SAVVY magazine. At the time I wanted to write a novel, but after ten years of getting rejected, I decided to write a book based on the article to see if I could get my foot in the door. The book did well, and then I was able to write my next book, and after that one I finally began writing novels. I was rejected for five years before I was able to get anything in print.


Robin Warshaw from Elkins Park, PA: Hi, Bebe. Can you tell the group a little about where your vision of these characters came from?

Bebe Moore Campbell: Hi Robin! How is everything going? My characters are a blending of real people and a lot of imagination. My character Lindy, for example, is a combination of my own grandmother and the blues singer Alberta Hunter. There is also a piece of poet Paul Laurence Dunbar's subject Malindy from the poem WHEN MALINDY SINGS. Her attitude and take on life come from my mind. Before I create characters they start talking to me, in my mind. And after a while they tell me who they are, how they speak, and what they look like. Say hi to Craig and give Rebecca a kiss. See you when I get to Philly.


Ruth from Ames, Iowa: I keep thinking about the scene where Maxine is sweeping the front porch and Mrs. Kelly comes out and thanks her for cleaning her stoop. Mrs. Kelly says she remembers Maxine playing with her little girls, while Maxine remembers not being allowed to. But then Kane and Able say they get cookies from Mrs. Kelley all the time. What made Mrs. Kelley change?

Bebe Moore Campbell: Mrs. Kelly probably changed because of her loneliness. When her own family abandoned her, she had to reach out to the people around her. The older people remembered her as a racist, and so she befriended the children. In the process she revised her own personal history so that she was able to see herself as a good person. She needs to continue growing.


Nikki from Las Vegas: Do you consider yourself an African-American first, or a woman?

Bebe Moore Campbell: It is really hard to separate the two. Some days I feel real black and other days I feel real female. It depends on the hormones.


Michelle Williams from College Park, GA: In your book, you describe Maxine's coming home in a not-so-well-to-do neighborhood. Did you grow up in a neighborhood similar to that?

Bebe Moore Campbell: My neighborhood was like the one Maxine grew up in. It was a prosperous street of row houses. Inside those houses were lower-middle-class black people who were searching for better lives for their children. When I return to that neighborhood, I don't find the same pride that once was there, but I do find that the core values haven't changed.


Ginger from Richmond, VA: What was the last book that you read that you liked? Do you only read new works, or do you sometimes go back and read older works, too?

Bebe Moore Campbell: PARADISE by Toni Morrison. I certainly do read the classics and other older works.


Moderator: Thank you so much for joining us this evening. Do you have any closing remarks that you would like to make?

Bebe Moore Campbell: Thanks for all the great questions. It is wonderful to hear from my readers.


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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2007

    Just o.k.

    This book did not hold my interest. Story line seemed weak. I read half of the book and did not feel compelled to finish it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2003

    She keeps you coming back for more...

    thrilling abuse. Bebe Moore Campbell is an excellent writer of rough lifes gone smooth. This book was no exception and worth every turn of the page. Her writing style is fantastic and intriguing. Her characters bounce into reality with details that keep you reading for more. Highly recommended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2001

    I have finally decided to finish this book

    I had barely spread the pages in this book nearly two - maybe three - years ago when my grandmother, who raised me, had congestive heart failure. This just wasn't the book for me at that time; I was so afraid Lindy would die on Maxine, and I'd flee the hospital, leaving Mother (that's what I call my grandma) wondering where I had gone. I couldn't put us through that. Now Mother's fine, and I'm ready to read <I>Singing In the Comeback Choir.</I> I was impressed with what I had read before I chickened out. I loved Campbell's previous books, and like her style so much I'm sure <I>SITCC</I> will make it to the top of my list.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2000

    My greatest focus is on Maxine and Her Dear Grandmother

    I checked out Mrs. Campbell's book from the public library, and I was told that the book is good. When I began to read the story, it did not excite me well. However, I kept on reading anyway because of the character, Maxine who has the most concern for her dear grandmother. It was my greatest focus on two of them. The story has some humor, some brief tragedies, and touching-to-hearts. Maxine's grandma is the one who sings in the comeback choir that she has been longing for to hear again. In the most of this story, I admire Maxine because of doing her own best interesting for her hometown-community and grandmother. I was looking forward to read some events about Maxine's first child whom her grandma's willing to take care, but it never wrote in some details that Mrs. Campbell should even though her grandma promised to Maxine once. However, it is not enough. Besides, I wish it does not have to be ended that way, but I do understand the story is actually based on Maxine's grandmother only.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 1999

    Too many minor details

    There were too many minor details and not enough interesting story lines in this novel. After about the fisrt 100 pages it still had not caught my interest but I felt compelled to finish it anyway. This book does not come highly recommended from me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews

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