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Sugar (Sugar Lacey, #1)
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Sugar (Sugar Lacey #1)

4.26  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,934 Ratings  ·  291 Reviews
"Strong and folksy storytelling...think Zora Neale Hurston...Sugar speaks of what is real." --The Dallas Morning NewsFrom an exciting new voice in African-American contemporary fiction comes a novel Ebony praised for its "unforgettable images, unique characters, and moving story that keeps the pages turning until the end." The Chicago Defender calls Sugar "a literary explo ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published January 2nd 2001 by Plume (first published 2000)
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Betty Read this book a second time for my bookclub. Had forgotten how much I loved this story. McFadden is an excellent heart so went out to…moreRead this book a second time for my bookclub. Had forgotten how much I loved this story. McFadden is an excellent heart so went out to "Sugar". What a sad existence to live a life mostly filled with pain. My heart goes out to all women who make their living on their backs...there are reason so very compelling for such lifestyles. BTW, the cover of my book was lousy. The one above is more appropriate.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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I just finished reading this book for the second time after ten years. So much respect is due to Bernice Mcfadden. She's a wonderful writer and storyteller. Her style is amazing. Her excellency in character analysis is outstanding. It was impossible not to fall in love with the characters or at least have an understanding of how or why they are the way that they are. I couldn't get over the language of the narration. So beautifully written. I definitely can't wait to read the sequel. This is a b ...more
Shonell Bacon
Apr 14, 2011 Shonell Bacon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
If you haven't read this, then SHAME ON YOU...for real.
Suzanne (Chick with Books) Yester
I didn't know what to expect from Sugar as I read the opening scene of a horrendous murder of a young black girl named Jude and the devastated mother she left behind named Pearl. The year was 1940, the place was a southern black town, and it was the era of segregation...

"No one cared except the people who carried the same skin color"

Bernice McFadden made me feel the anguish of a mother who lost her child; the injustice of the times as it was known nothing was going to be done about it... And the
Aug 12, 2011 Ms.Toni rated it really liked it
More Sugar, Please

Okay, so I’ve heard about this book, heard about this book and heard about this book. Haven’t run into a single person who read it and didn’t love it. But this is me we’re talking about so that doesn’t mean anything to me. I had read a previous title by Bernice McFadden and it didn’t do anything for me. I tried her alter ego, Geneva Holiday, and wasn’t moved. It wasn’t until a dear friend who is also a bookseller actually put the book in my hand and told me to take it and read
Nov 01, 2007 Shawnette rated it really liked it
Totally Spellbinding

"Sugar" was one of the best novels I've read in a long time! I applaud the talents of the writer because as a debut novel, she was able to capture the attention of the reader and maintain it throughout. I remember thinking that this was going to be a slow read, however, I found myself enjoying the fact that she didn't reveal too much, too soon. I enjoyed the characters in "Sugar". This book will have you feeling a range of emotions from beginning to end, it was an incredible
Alretha Thomas
Sep 30, 2013 Alretha Thomas rated it it was amazing
I finished reading Bernice L. McFadden’s Sugar this morning at the gym. I have to confess that I did happen to see a review that mentioned something about the ending not being a very happy one, so I braced myself as I approached the last chapter. Happy ending or no happy ending, Sugar was as sweet a read as the title…bittersweet in places, but sweet just the same. I not only fell in love with Bernice’s writing style, but I also found a deep place in my heart for the two main women in the novel— ...more
Jan 30, 2010 Melissa rated it really liked it
Pearl has had her heart ripped out after the murder of her daughter; Sugar has had her life ripped apart by choices made for her by others. Neither knows, until Sugar moves next door to Pearl, what life has in store for them both.

In my quest to find the alternative to “The Help” I’m trying to immerse myself in African-American authors, who’s points of view lend more authenticity and credibility to the stories of African-American characters. I hit gold with Bernice L. McFadden’s, Sugar.

Set in the
Bonita Anthony
Jan 21, 2016 Bonita Anthony rated it really liked it
This was a spellbinding and compelling book. The book started slowly. Reading the first 50 pages, you are fooled into thinking that you have figured out the mystery and that you will be bored for the next 150 pages. However, the pace picks up, the story begins to unfold, and you feel like you are watching a movie on Lifetime. Reading this in one sitting is easy as the parallels of people’s lives mesmorize you. We have all lived through some kind of hardship, pain, rejection, and abuse. Women, es ...more
Mar 06, 2015 Destiny rated it it was amazing
Loved it! My second book by this author. Can't wait to read part 2. Sugar was abandoned by her mother at a young age and never knew her father. During her formative years, she saw and heard a lot of things that were a bit much for a youngster. She grew up not really feeling loved. At the age of 15 she left town in search of becoming a star and a woman. See Sugar through her journey in life. Not all people are bad or want something from you.
Dec 10, 2015 Patricia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-fiction
Such a great story. I was reading it the same time that I was reading Sula and there were some subtle similarities. Southern women, excellent familiar dialogue, but this one w/o the magical realism that Toni Morrison is known for. This was just a great story. Not a single sentence seemed wasted. Loved it!
Arlene (Urbrightside)
Feb 29, 2016 Arlene (Urbrightside) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: yes!!
I think this might just be a new favorite of mines.

Sugar, was a fantastic novel. It was a great novel. I enjoyed the friendship dynamic btw Sugar and Pearl. And the underlining story behind what I felt that made their friendship even stronger, spoilers and all. I'm glad that somethings, that went with that underlining story did not happen, even though some characters wanted it to happen. ( I know that sounds crazy, but I'm trying to keep it spoiler free) I was actually jealous of the friendship
Feb 26, 2013 Alysia rated it really liked it
I had a hard time getting into this book in the beginning. I think I will blame it all on reader's burn out. All 100% of it. Because once I got into the book I jammed right though it. The story takes place in the Spring of 1940 small town Bigelow, Arkansas and opens with the gruesome murder of a 15 year old girl. I always have a hard time with gruesome and good writing. There are so many great writers out there telling some detailed violent, image burning stories that make you cringe as you read ...more
Morninglight Mama
Feb 04, 2016 Morninglight Mama rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Man, I've been picking books that take me for an emotional ride lately. This one certainly fits the bill, and the horrific images and violent events had my heart aching. Again, I have a difficult time saying that I "enjoyed" reading a book with such despair-filled content... but, I did. I thought the writing was powerful, and the setting of the 1950's South was authentic- I could feel the oppressive heat as I turned the pages. The hypocritical ways of the town's male population really bothered m ...more
Not Now...Mommy's Reading
McFadden's style reminds me a lot of J. California Cooper, who IMHO is THE BEST African-American author I've ever had the pleasure of reading.
I was half-way through "Sugar" before I found out there was a sequel to the story, "This Bitter Earth". I promptly ordered the sequel and look forward to adding the rest of McFadden's titles to my library.
The characters were so real - it seemed as if they were people I actually grew up around...or with. The story drew you in from the beginning and held y
Feb 18, 2015 Staci rated it it was amazing
Love, love, love this author. Bernice McFadden is a master weaver, pulling together beautiful threads to tell a stunning tale of loss, grief and love.
Mar 26, 2015 Mecca rated it it was amazing
McFadden kept my attention through and through. On to the sequel....
Athira (Reading on a Rainy Day)
I had read the first page of this book, soon as it arrived at my doorstep. Right then I was hooked, and had to resist from reading further. Bernice McFadden's writing is so beautiful, that I just lost myself in it. The very first page was stunning both in its prose and in it's sharp narration.

My opinion
In the Spring of 1940, a little girl, Jude, is found dead in Bigelow, Arkansas, in the most brutal manner possible. Her death sends the whole community into shock and devastates her parents, Pearl
Jun 17, 2015 Tangee rated it it was amazing
I finished reading this book today and I know that its a book that will be a "go-to" book that I will re-read in my collection. I was drawn in from the character development in this book. The way that you see the growth spiritually and mentally from the two main characters in this book is really touching. I found myself connected to Sugar and Pearl (2 main characters) within the first couple chapters. The way that Bernice McFadden writes is nothing less than spectacular; I was drawn to the diale ...more
Mar 18, 2016 Doris rated it really liked it
I am not a fan of African American historical novels, just period. This is one of the few exceptions, along with "I Know Why A Caged Bird Sings" - I cried and put the book down for months after the 1st chapter. The ending pissed me off - I am feeling flush thinking about it and it has been 2 months since I finished it.

The book is amazing. I suck at reviews. Just read it.
Mar 05, 2016 Anino rated it it was amazing
One of the best books that I have ever read.. And I do mean, ever...
Apr 02, 2015 Megan rated it it was amazing
i'm having a hard time putting a number on this book. so haunting, so many pages so brutal and hard to read. but how can i not give five stars to a book whose characters will linger, whose picture of a particular moment in time and place in our history is so clear, beautiful, and true. tragic, in so many ways, but also so full of hope and beauty.
Shanika Carter
May 25, 2015 Shanika Carter rated it it was amazing
This was my first Bernice L. McFadden book and I absolutely loved it! I felt like I could picture every scene, even taking in the feel and smell of certain scenarios as she described. This book had me laughing aloud in some parts, as well as cursing and feeling empathetic in others. After that ending, I definitely have to read the second book in this series!
May 19, 2015 Teresa rated it it was amazing
This book moved me in ways I can't explain. Filled with raw emotions of hurt, anger,change and loving ones self as well as a mysterious stranger.
Winter Sophia Rose
Mar 26, 2015 Winter Sophia Rose rated it it was amazing
Intriguing, Engrossing, Moving & Powerful! A Masterpiece! I Loved It!
May 07, 2015 Earl rated it really liked it
Good introduction to sugar crimes
Sep 18, 2014 Ivy rated it it was amazing
Sugar Lacey has taken a few hard knocks in life. Hoping to turn her life around, she moves down South next door to a couple who are nursing their own tragedies.

Pearl has been leveled by unspeakable horrors. She isn't the person she used to be and has settled on existing rather than living. When Sugar moves in next door, Pearl is immediately reminded of what she has lost and takes Sugar under her wing, striking up and unlikely friendship. They are brought together by pain and loss, each needing
Oct 11, 2013 Tammy rated it it was amazing
I saw all of the fantastic reviews for this book but like to read and judge for myself. The reviews did not lie. I can not even begin to put my thoughts into words about this novel. I was immediately sucked into this story not just because of the character depth and vivid surroundings but also because I could feel the emotions.

Bernice L. McFadden lays out a story so straightforward that it's hard to look away even during the times that you really want to. At points I cried like a baby and at ot
Jul 07, 2009 Babydoll rated it it was amazing
What an amazing story! I have owned this book since 2001, but due to my busy schedule while I was in college I was never able to read this book. Last week I found it on my book shelf, discovered that I had a signed copy by the author, and decided to finally read it. I was definately not disappointed. This is a well written novel that tells the story of a woman who walks into the town of Bigelow, forever changing the lives of the citizens. This novel takes the reader on a journey through a life o ...more
Mar 09, 2010 April rated it really liked it
When Sugar Lacey comes to the small town of Bigelow in Arkansas, life is shaken up. Women eye her with disdain, men eye her with lust. This is the basis of the novel Sugar by Bernice L. McFadden. Sugar begins with a bang, immediately we are drawn in with a murder of a little girl. Emotion is ripe and we see how the murder takes a toll on Pearl Taylor, the mother of the victim. The book then flashes forward fifteen years, when the lives of Sugar Lacey and Pearl Taylor will intertwine over sweet p ...more
Jan 01, 2016 Vanessa rated it it was amazing
I cried with Sugar, I laughed with Sugar, and I felt that I was part of her tragic life. What a dynamic use of visualization!! I was so touched by Sugar's character, I did not want the book to end!
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The end 3 27 May 24, 2015 11:12PM  
African-American ...: September BB: Sugar 46 23 Oct 04, 2014 05:45PM  
Mocha Girls Read: Book of the Month: Sugar 15 110 Mar 08, 2013 12:23AM  
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BERNICE L. McFADDEN is the author of nine critically acclaimed novels including Sugar, Loving Donovan, Nowhere Is a Place, The Warmest December, Gathering of Waters (a New York Times Editors’ Choice and one of the 100 Notable Books of 2012), and Glorious, which was featured in O, The Oprah Magazine and was a finalist for the NAACP Image Award. She is a three-time Hurston/Wright Legacy Award finali ...more
More about Bernice L. McFadden...

Other Books in the Series

Sugar Lacey (2 books)
  • This Bitter Earth (Sugar Lacey, #2)

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“ 'Sugar, aint you ever had no good time?' she said with a bit of sadness in her voice.
'What you mean?' Sugar said,...
'Seems to me that I ain't never see you look up from whatever you were doing and just smile.'
'Just smile? Smile at what? At who?'
'Smile into the air, girl!' she said and waved her arm through the better start, 'cause time is running and a life without good times ain't a life worth having.”
“When things were bad, time had a habit of taking its time to pass, making sure you experienced every painful moment. When things were good and contentment abundant, time moved like the wind, hurrying precious moments along and forcing things that normally require nurturing to grow and forge quickly.” 1 likes
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