Sonya Feher's Reviews > Gorilla, My Love

Gorilla, My Love by Toni Cade Bambara
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Gorilla, My Love is the first book of short stories I've read from Feminista's Top 100 Works by Women Authors. I'm not so sure about their mixing short stories, novellas, autobiography, and novels. Why not add some poetry and personal essays in there too? Or, how about making a top 100 list by genre so we're not comparing apples to gorillas?

Reading this book from cover to cover was challenging.If I'd just kept the book in the car for months and read a story anytime I was sitting in a waiting room, I might have gotten more out of it, but reading this before bed or when I had long stretches required too large a jump from story to story. Each narrator and dialect required the work of going into a world where I didn't know the lingo and hadn't ever visited personally so I had to gather a lot from context and I felt like I was missing more of it than I was getting. That being said, the strongest stories from Gorilla, My Love are some of the best I've ever read. Whether entering the world of a mother of adult children who disapprove of her sexual appetite, a child fighting to get her money back from the theater manager because the movie's title was misleading, or the teenager imagining being able to look back on her "betrayed youth," the characters are so interesting I wanted to live with them longer and hear more of their stories. The book jacket sports multiple blurbs about the portraits of black life Bambara creates, and she does but the stories are so short, they can only be portraits. I wanted more. Additionally, the book really suffers a lull in the middle, with the most compelling vignettes at both ends.
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