“A radiant family drama with all-too-real scenarios and deep emotional impact. In her sophomore effort, Parry Brown gives us a ride that is both enlightening and entertaining.” —Timmothy B. McCann, author of Forever
Sittin' in the Front Pew: A Novelby Parry EbonySatin Brown
From the author of the national bestseller The Shirt off His Back comes a novel about love, family, and honoring loved ones
Death brings about strange emotions, and people’s true colors start to show. Glynda Naylor discovers this when she gets the call that her father has died suddenly and she must fly from Los Angeles to Baltimore to bury him. Her/b>
From the author of the national bestseller The Shirt off His Back comes a novel about love, family, and honoring loved ones
Death brings about strange emotions, and people’s true colors start to show. Glynda Naylor discovers this when she gets the call that her father has died suddenly and she must fly from Los Angeles to Baltimore to bury him. Her beloved daddy, Edward Naylor, raised his four young daughters after their mother's death, and was the perfect father, brother, fiancé, and friend to those who loved him. As friends and family gather to pay tribute to this pillar of the community, Glynda and her sisters begin to search for answers about who the real Edward Naylor was. Their father was a good man, without question, but he also took a secret to his grave. What happens when his secret shows up for the funeral?
Read an Excerpt
“Why is the phone still ringing while I’m saying hello?” Saying it aloud must have startled me awake. Only then did I realize I had been answering the phone in my dream.
“Hello?” I groggily answered.
“Sissy, is that you?” There was only one person who still consistently called me Sissy as an adult, but this did not sound at all like my oldest sister.
“Renee, what is wrong with you? And why are you calling me at two-thirty in the morning? You know I get up to go running at four-thirty.” I held the clock radio in my left hand and the phone in my right.
It never dawned on me that Renee would not call me in the middle of the night unless something was wrong, terribly wrong.
“Are you alone, Sissy?”
“Yeah, Anthony is on his two-week reserve assignment. What’s wrong, Renee?” I bolted awake and pulled myself up in bed. Renee had never cared if I was alone before.
Her voice cracked as she spoke. “Oh Sissy!” Renee was crying.
“You are scaring me, Renee. What the hell is going on? Is there something wrong with Derrick or one of the kids?”
“Sissy, it’s Daddy! Sissy, Daddy is dead!” she screamed into the phone.
The room started spinning as I laid my head back on the solid oak headboard. She hadn’t said my daddy was dead. She was screaming, so I knew I’d misunderstood. “What did you say, Renee?”
“Daddy is dead! We’re at University Hospital Emergency Room. You gotta come home, Sissy. You gotta get on a plane now!” She was no longer screaming, but sobbing so hard it was still very difficult to understand exactly what she was saying.
“Give me the phone, Renee!” I heard Collette snap at her. “Why you just gonna blurt some shit like that out at her in the middle of the night. I told you to let me call, but nooooooo!”
“Hey, Sis, you okay? Did you understand what Renee was saying?” Collette’s demeanor had drastically changed as she took the phone.
“Collette, it sounded like she said that Daddy is dead!” He can’t be dead. I talked to him last night.
“It’s true, Sis.” Now Collette’s voice was cracking.
“What are you saying, Collette?” This time I was screaming. There was no way my daddy was dead. I’d spoken to him just before he went to bed. He’d told me he loved me and how proud he was of me for passing the bar! My daddy was not dead.
“Where’s Anthony? You need to calm down!” Collette immediately regretted the statement.
“Calm down, you calm down. He ain’t here. What happened to my daddy?” As usual, Collette was trying my patience.
“He was my daddy, too!”
“What do you mean was?”
“Daddy is gone, Sissy!” Collette, using my pet name, started sobbing into the phone.
“What happened, Lette? Please tell me what happened to my daddy!”
“He called Dawn to tell her he loved her and while he was on the phone he stopped talking. She was screaming for him, but he wouldn’t answer. She hung up and called 911 and then went over there. She called us from her car, and Renee and I met her there. When we arrived, Dawn was waiting on the porch to tell us he was dead when the paramedics arrived. But they were trying to bring him back. They tried everything, Sissy. They did, they really did.” Her voice trailed off.
“Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God! Not my daddy. Not my daddy!” I screamed to the universe, not to my second youngest sister.
“Glynda, you need to call somebody!” This time it was Dawn on the phone. “We have each other, but you’re out there all alone. Can Anthony come home? Can you get in touch with him?”
“Dawn, tell me my daddy is not dead! Tell me it’s not true!”
“Sissy, it is true. He called all of us last night to tell us he loved us. I guess somehow he knew it was his time. He looks so peaceful. He’s with Mama now.” Dawn’s many years as a pediatric nurse had imparted such a soothing way of talking. She dealt with the worst kind of death of all every day—the death of children.
“Dawn . . .” I had wanted to tell her I didn’t want him to be with Mama. I wanted him here with me. I wanted to scream, in thirty years Mama could have him for all eternity, I needed him now! The words held up in my chest. My mouth moved, but no words formed. My daddy was dead.
“Glynda, you there? You okay?” Dawn was barely audible.
“I’m here, but I’m far from okay! How can I be, Dawn?”
“I know, Sissy. It was a stupid question. Can you call someone? You don’t need to be alone.”
“I’ll call Rico. She’s on call tonight. Dawn?”
“He called us all to say good-bye?”
“Yes, Sissy, he did.”
“Hello.” I knew it was Rico, but I didn’t want to just blurt out the horrible news.
“Hey gurlfriend! What’re you doing up in the middle of the night. I thought this privilege was reserved for us medical professionals. You lawyers got those banker’s hours.” Rico sounded more like it was three in the afternoon than three in the morning.
Rico Martin had been my friend since the day we met at the library more than seventeen years ago. Rico was in her senior year at the University of Southern California, and I, a junior at California State University at Dominguez Hills. We were both trying to escape the madness at our respective apartments. USC had won a spot in the coveted Rose Bowl, and the parties abounded. My roommate was in college to get her swerve on with whoever was willing to swerve at the moment. I just wasn’t in the mood to listen to her proclaim love for a stranger, again.
Rico and I had so many books spread out across the massive table that no one dared to try to join us. We worked in silence for two hours before we engaged in conversation.
“Hey, want a cup of coffee? My treat,” Rico said as if we had been friends for years.
“I’d love some, but I’ll buy my own,” I said, digging for change in my jacket pocket.
“You can buy the next round.” Rico winked at me.
“Sounds like you’re in for the long haul, too.”
“Yeah, I’m pre-med, and tests don’t stop because we got into the Rose Bowl. I’m Arico Perez. But my friends call me Rico.” She extended her hand.
“Hi, Rico. My name is Glynda Naylor. My friends call me Glynda.” We both laughed.
“Nice to meet you, Glynda. What’s your major?” Rico’s deep Hershey’s bittersweet-chocolate complexion, with the distinctive features of a true African descendant, accented by hazel eyes and unruly curly jet black hair made me think her last name was Johnson or Williams, not Perez.
“Double major, English literature and business. The English is for me; the business is for my daddy. He said I have to be sensible, unless I want to teach for the rest of my life.” I immediately felt comfortable with Rico.
“Ahhhh, I understand about family pressures. I’m the first in my family to go to college, and everyone wants the golden child to be a doctor. I really want it, too. But sometimes I feel like I have no choice in the matter.” Rico was putting on her jacket.
“Well, my sisters and I had no choice on the college thing, but I was the only one brave enough to go away to school. All the others are in school back in Maryland.”
“How many others?” Rico stared at me curiously.
“And you’re all in college at the same time?”
“Actually, the baby is still in high school. My oldest sister got married at nineteen and then went to college two years ago. Daddy doesn’t have to help her, but he says if she’s trying to make a better life, he’s going to help her any way he can. But that’s just how Daddy is.”
“He sounds like a wonderful man. What about your mother?”
“Mama died ten years ago in a car accident—drunk driver. He’s been raising us on his own ever since.”
“Wow, I’m sorry to hear about your mother. My mother raised three of us by herself, because my daddy, whoever the hell he is, had other plans.” Rico had a distant look in her eyes as she spoke.
“Sorry.” I didn’t know what else to say.
“What do you want in your coffee?” Rico smoothly changed the subject.
“I like it the way I like my man—black with just enough sugar and cream to take the bite out of it.”
“I heard that!” We slapped five.
A month after that cold rainy night we spent in the library, Rico and I became roommates. We had moved up from one apartment to a better one then another, until we bought a house in the prestigious View Park neighborhood for African-American professionals who had arrived. We’d shared the house until Rico married Jonathan Martin two years before.
Everyone, except me, had been amazed when the renowned pediatric trauma surgeon married the UPS man. Jonathan made Rico’s heart, not to mention other vital parts of her anatomy, sing!
. . .
“That’s what you think!” My poor attempt at humor didn’t fool my best friend for a minute. “Thank you for returning my page so quickly, Rico,” I said, trying to keep the tone in my voice even.
“What’s wrong, Glynda? You and Anthony have another fight?”
“No, Rico. It’s Daddy. He . . .”
“What, Glynda? What’s wrong with Papa Eddie?” Rico had adopted my daddy as her own on our first visit to Baltimore together.
“Rico, Daddy died tonight.” I spoke just above a whisper.
“What? CVA, MI, what?” Rico had slipped into her medical jargon without thinking I’d have no clue what she meant.
“We don’t know yet, but we think it was a massive heart attack.”
“Oh my God, Glynda! Let me get someone to cover for me. I’ll be there within the hour. Have you called Anthony?”
“No, he’s in the desert on reserve duty. Besides, I called you first. I’ll call his company and leave a message. Rico, please hurry.”
I never seemed to need anyone for anything. Rico had always been the one who was so dependent in our relationship. When she heard the desperation in my voice, she knew tonight I needed her, and I knew she would move heaven and earth to get to me.
Meet the Author
Parry "EbonySatin" Brown is the coproducer and host of a radio talk show and is also a motivational speaker. She is the author of Sexy Doesn't Have a Dress Size and lives in L.A.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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The book was very interesting and something anyone can relate to if they have ever been in that situation or similar to it. I enjoyed it very much and it was a pretty quick read for someone who loves to read.
When we grieve for a parent, it is vital to recall the cherished memories & shared experiences of family life, and that is what Edward "Eddie" Naylor's daughters did in this novel. Those memories flooded their hearts with far more thoughts than they imagined possible. Their days of grief that followed Eddie's death were not a time of short summaries or quick snapshots but a time of deeply remembering details, stories, and the impact of his whole life. It was a time to pause, reflect, and honor Eddie, yet some secrets surfaced that caused chaos & confusion for the lamenting ladies of Eddie's life and caused many a family feud. A developed plot, characters, and properly placed drama along with some perverse language kept this storyline moving forward; keeps you in suspense trying to figure out all of Eddie's secrets. A good read you should enjoy this novel. Favorable review: Intriguing and suspense-filled.
I loved this book. I could not put the book down. I took it with me everywhere I went. I read it in one day. I think that this book shares some great insights to life and can shed some light how we should behave when we loved one is called home and in life in general. I had some great laughs and I cried as well. My husband even enjoyed me telling him about it as I read. It was a great and easy read! Looking forward to reading more of her books. What is so amazing is that I have never considered myself a reader, but this book definitely motivated me to read more.
I did enjoy the book. It was an easy read.. I finished it in one day. There were no surprises which I hoped for and it was very predictable. I would of like to see a 'deeper secret'... one that the reader wouldn't see coming.... The Father was painted way too perfect... and the use of the word 'POPPEE' over and over again was annoying... However, it gave me lots of smiles because I could definitely relate... sort of been there done that...
This book was the absolute best! I read it in it's entirety in a day and a half. Anyone who has sisters and adores their Daddy would love this book. I could really identify with the stubbon sister and the other sister's imposing best friend. This is the best book I have read in a while.
I enjoyed the characters and there is always some in the bunch during a death that act the same. Loved the ending and the sister in red.
The main theme of the novel is when a loved one dies the bad side of people can come out. Parry ¿Ebony Satin¿ Brown explores the true side of the Naylor girls when their father dies. She does a great job portraying the other side of the sisters. It is presented when one of the sisters, become greedy trying to buy things cheap when they have ample amount of money. The novel deals with real life issues. Reading it could help you learn how to deal with situations like this, you can learn from the character¿s mistakes. Throughout the whole novel many questions arise: who is this Nina Blackford? Why is she a beneficiary of the insurance policy? Did Estelle cause our father¿s death by making him take Viagra? Who should be included in making the funeral decisions? Why did he call each and every one of us and told us he loved us? Did daddy know his time was coming? The answers to all of these very real questions can be found in Brown¿s novel Sittin¿ in The Front Pew.
This was a very enjoyable book. Very rare does a book have such an emotional effect, much like family during times of sorrow. I found myself crying and laughing at the same time!
In the beginning of the novel the narrator, Glynda, is in California and gets a phone call from home telling her that her father is dead. In shock she calls her best friend Rico. She helps her get her stuff together and makes plane arrangements for her to go back home. She finally gets home to where her three sisters are, and they start to plan for their father¿s funeral. Their father Eddie Naylor was going to get married to his fiancé, Estelle. Two of the sisters don¿t want to include her at all because she¿s not family. The other two believe the she was as close to their father as they were and that she should be included. This becomes a big issue in the planning of the funeral. The sisters bicker and bite throughout the whole novel. Then Uncle Thomas comes into the picture, one of Eddie Naylor¿s good friends. No one really wants to deal with the sisters bitter attitudes but Uncle Thomas, he puts up with them and keeps them informed about how their father would not agree with the way that they are treating each other. Finally Estelle is included to help with the funeral arrangements. She tells the girls that their father had a will written up. In his will he is very specific about how they should go about planning his funeral. He has the color of his casket, where to have his funeral, many very specific details. Their father made sure that it wouldn¿t be a burden for any of them to plan his funeral. It still didn¿t help. As they are going through the will they come across a beneficiary that no one knows. Her name is Nina Blackford. Uncle Thomas, Estelle, nor any of the sisters know her. The main theme of the novel is when a loved one dies the bad side of people can come out. Parry ¿Ebony Satin¿ Brown explores the true side of the Naylor girls when their father dies. She does a great job portraying the other side of the sisters. It is presented when one of the sisters, become greedy trying to buy things cheap when they have ample amount of money. The novel deals with real life issues. Reading it could help you learn how to deal with situations like this, you can learn from the character¿s mistakes. Throughout the whole novel many questions arise: who is this Nina Blackford? Why is she a beneficiary of the insurance policy? Did Estelle cause our father¿s death by making him take Viagra? Who should be included in making the funeral decisions? Why did he call each and every one of us and told us he loved us? Did daddy know his time was coming? The answers to all of these very real questions can be found in Brown¿s novel Sittin¿ in The Front Pew.
I couldn't put this book down, it had me on an emotional roller coaster, one minute I was crying the next minute I was laughing. I will check out her other book when I get a chance. (It didn't dawn on me that the uncle's name was 'Thomas', but his manner of talking was annoying after a while). It was still a good read!
Parrin Brown gives you everything you need in a great summer read. I'm so happy I picked up her first novel, which made me run for the second one.
This story of family, love, greed, and need, was very well written. I was inspired by the sisters ability to love one another even in the wake of all of their vast difference's. I was saddened by the father's inability to show his family and friend's that he was only a man. I was strangled by my laughter at the inappropriate behavior of friends. This book ran the full gamet on emotion. I laughed, I was anger, I cried (almost from the beginning to the end)finally I was satisfied. I SELDOM enjoy any book more than, 'it was alright' but this was excellent,so much so I had to call my friend while she was on vaction to tell her to pick it up. I only gave it 4 stars because of some typographical errors.
I really enjoyed this book. It's so funny how people especially family members come against each other when someone passes. This book shows true colors, greed, support, sisterhood and most of all love. I loved every page of it. I could relate with the father's passing with my own father's passing 13 years ago. The book will have you crying and laughing at the same time.
This is one of the funniest books I have read in a long time. The scary part is that this family is so identical to my own. If to you want to laugh and cry get this book. You won't regret it.
I really enjoyed this book. It kept me up reading it many nights. It makes you laugh, cry, and think of family. So much of it makes you think of how people change at funerals. Definately a good read!
I truly enjoyed this book. I was in the process of reading it when my grandmother passed away. I laughed, cried, and could relate to some of the things that happened in the book. I simply loved it. I am recommending it to others for reading.
I just happened to run across the title of this book by accident. For some reason I could not get it out of my head, I kept thinking to myself what is that book all about. I decide to pick it up from the book store after work. Well let me tell you I was not disappointed in the least. I started reading the book the next day, which was my day off and I finished it within about six hours. This book is so true in so many ways. When reading some of the pages I felt like I was reliving some parts of my life. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves to read as I do. I decide to give this book to my sister who is not a reader of books just of magazines, but I truely hopes she takes a little time out to sit and read this well crafted and thought provoking book. To the arthur keep them coming, for they are indeed a hard to put down master piece.
When you read this book you'll definitely be able to identify with someone in this book. The way the story flows will keep you reading it all day. I read this entire book in one day and couldn't put it down until the end. A good read!