Sheila's Reviews > Glorious

Glorious by Bernice L. McFadden
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Mar 10, 10

bookshelves: cultural, historical, relationships
Read in March, 2010

Back in 1910 a black man defeated a white man in a fair fight and the black people who’d laid bets on the result were understandably elated. Soon afterwards, a girl called Easter, who already had plenty of reasons for hatred in her life, wrote that one word HATE on a piece of paper, crumpled it up, and buried it.

Easter wrote many other words too as she grew older in a world of radical unfairness and unthinking cruelty. Glorious, by Bernice McFadden, is her tale. Reading how a pregnant black cook is murdered because a total stranger, unfortunately also black, has committed a crime, then watching the slaughter of her unborn child, leaves the reader sickened and saddened for all those others whose stories have not been, and surely should be told. But Easter buries her hate and herself and moves on.

The novel introduces a fascinating cast of characters, some larger than life, some smaller, some real and some imagined. But all the lives are gloriously genuine and so powerfully told. I even found myself searching for author E.V. Gibbs on the internet, to see if she really existed. But I’ve read Their Eyes were watching God, so I know Zora Neale Hurston was real.

The story progresses from Georgia to railroad tracks to Harlem and high-class apartments in New York. Through waves of powerful emotions, innocent errors and devastating betrayals, it all ends back where it began, in the small town of Waycross, Georgia. Years have passed and it’s now 1961. The world is changing, but hasn’t changed enough. And the reader learns where Easter’s wonderful mind and words have led her. It could be tragic, but instead it’s powerfully hopeful, beautiful and moving. And the quote from Zora Neale Hurston on the final page—“God balances the sheet in time”—rings gloriously true in the reader’s mind.
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Catherine Gill I wonder if I should give this book another try? I found it very poorly written my first go. I liked the history in it and she has done her research but I found the writing blah.


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