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A Piece of Mine: Stories
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A Piece of Mine: Stories

4.52  ·  Rating details ·  1,032 ratings  ·  52 reviews
Back in print after more than five years, this is the extraordinary first short story collection by the author of Family.
Paperback, 144 pages
Published December 1st 1991 by Anchor (first published 1984)
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Brown Girl Reading
Feb 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: short story lovers, readers of African-American women's literature
Recommended to Brown Girl Reading by: Kim Lechelle
I’m slowly but surely working my way through J. California Cooper’s work and enjoying each one. I’m marveled at her mastery to tell a story. Anyone out there who is attempting to write short stories should absolutely read her. Click the link to continue ...more
Cassandra Hawkins
May 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
What a book... what a book....

This book was one word... AWESOME. Having been through so much in my life, I need this book right now. Longing for peace of mind, I finally have it. This book though provides you with not only a compilation of stories, but it provides you with morals and life lessons. Even though you are not sure if the stories are fact or fiction, this book is not about that. J. California Cooper entertains you, while giving you life lessons. Each story you can take something from
Dee's Reading Zone
If you love short stories in reflection mode, you will love the writing style of J. California Cooper. Each story is full of wisdom and sheer conviction.
Jan 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this collection of short stories.
Rita Reinhardt
Apr 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great read! I am never disappointed by Ms. J. California Cooper. I always seem to enjoy her books and short stories. I would have given this book 5 stars if it were not for a reoccurring theme that didn't sit right with me. In almost every story, there seems to be some form of abuse or domestic violence against women. In “$100 or Nothing,” Charles was off the chain!…he emotionally beat his woman down into the ground (literally). Although she was able to pull a couple of fast ones over on him, I ...more
Myi'a Antoinette
Jan 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book was such a great read. The short stories always give food for thought along with a little comedy. All of her stories would make great novels. I look forward to exploring her novels this year.
Dec 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book was great. I was recommended this book by someone who had read it. I love short stories. This book definitely did not disappoint. The first story just draws you in with the cleverness of it.
Jul 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
What I liked most about this book were the bite-sized stories - it was great to read one a day during my break times at work. It was exciting to me that I would not have to wait to know how the story ended in each case
:-]. I want to read more from J California Cooper.
Jun 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Whenever I feel there's not enough justice in the world, I pick up the short stories of J. California Cooper. Nobody does comeuppance like she does. In this book, my favorite story is "Who are the Fools" (followed closely by "$100 and Nothing")is about everybody getting what they deserve. An abusive man gets his just desserts, a scavenger woman willing to pick up a piece of man someone else left; gets it even better (or should I say worse) and the kind wife gets away in the end.

This was enjoyable, but in all honest it was okay. I thought the POV for the stories was unique and kinda funny, like hearing your homegirl give you some gossip about her neighbors, while y'all sitting on her porch drinking tea.

This was my first J.California Cooper book, and I think I will give her another shot. I have heard such awesome things about her, and I'd like to give a full novel of hers a go.
Feb 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really excellent. Deceptively straightforward stories that grab you with compelling narration. The restraint shown by author in the almost trivial description of awful racist violence committed against these characters make the acts resonate more strongly. The lushly portrayed characters and level of self awareness they possess resonate consistently throughout the book.
May 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
So, I really enjoyed these stories but this is not my favorite book of work by Ms. Cooper. However, I found these stories to be fun and interesting, if not a little predictable. A very quick read.
Jul 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: authors-of-color
A Piece of Mine is a collection of short stories. The stories were all about women who had either been done wrong by men and gotten their revenge or women who gave up their dreams for men and finally decided to try and live a few of them.

There are a lot of good nuggets of wisdom in her stories and I love the way her stories just pull you in from the first line and don't let you go until the end. The only reason for the four stars is because I got tired of reading about rape and abuse. The descr
Jun 24, 2015 added it
I'm not sure how she manages to tell a whole life's story in just a few sentences, but she does.
Almost written in the first person, vernacular, the stories are powerful and sad, but very often the women they are talking about have happyish endings. Or as happy as real life often allows allows.

Putting aside for the next bookbox that comes by.
Rhonda Williams
Jun 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is my favoite of all the books I've read by this author. Her manner of storytelling and her voice sound like down home. They remind of what it was like to have an older family member who kept and recited all the family's stories. Each one contained a small grain of truth and sage advice.
Claire Frances
Sep 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
i read this book for the Introduction to African-American Literature at Gallaudet University. This author writes all about black people's lives between freedom from slavery and civil rights in 1960s. I think it's a good book and helps people to understand black people's cultures in these times.
Quisha Light
Jun 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
J. California Cooper does an excellent job of relating various aspects of the American Black experience. What a pleasure to read her books!!
Esther Jones-Alley
Jan 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Fabulous writing as always with J California Cooper. Really down-home writing great collections of short stories.
Ashley Mcguffries
Feb 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I'm usually not a big fan of short stories, but as soon as I read a sample, I knew I had to read these stories! Luckily, my local library had her books and I will gladly read more books by her!
Natalie Batchler
Fantastic! Engaging!

Captivating and engaging she tells a story of people of yester year and yesterday. This is a fantastic read. Check it out.
Massanutten Regional Library
Karen, Shenandoah patron, June 2015, 5 stars:

Cooper never disappoints. A great combination of wit and wisdom.
rebecca tolliver

This book is so down to earth. I can "see" the characters and I wasn't ready to depart in some stories.
Kathy O
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: black-literature
I loved this book of stories, and loved the strength of all the women in these stories, which are otherwise heart wrenching for the misogynistic, racist, agist, classist life experiences captured in so many different female voices. The brisk, compact, often cheerful, hopeful and impactful prose was powerful. I shall not forget this book or these women or these stories. Also, this is a great read on a very long plane ride, as novelty arises with each new story.
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ms. Cooper does it again. She always does a great job of transporting you back into the lives of everyday folk with ease. She makes you feel like you are sitting on the porch with the neighborhood matriarch after a hiatus from home. It always feel so natural and familiar. However, every story gives lessons about life and the experiences we live. She illustrates in this story continuously the plight of women in relation to men at all ages.
Dec 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I fell in love with J. California Cooper. This book was my introduction. This is African American folklore at its finest. It is painfully raw, real, and relevant. These snapshot stories resonate with me because all though they are fiction, there is truth to these stories. I have heard them in my community. I will be reading more of Cooper's work.
Donna K. Copeland
Simply Beautiful!

Awesome story. I love all of J. California Cooper's books. They are all like gold to me. Each book is so real life and so meaningful to me. I was actually in every story living it as though i was a next door neighbor. I cry, I laugh, I'm surprised and I sigh. Real life stories. I love J. California Cooper. She is my FAVORITE Arthur hands down.
Treasure I. Moore, Author

You can't always go with how things appear, but rather how it feels to you. J. California Cooper is sure to pick up where our grandmothers , aunts and mothers and godmothers may have left off (in learned stories of the ways of the world through the eyes of black literature).
carolyn ross
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great short stories

I really loved this book☺. Some stories and me laugh, some mad me cry, and others for me thinking. Page turner, can't wait to share my favorite 3 stories at book club meeting today. We are the Shades Book Club with 17 years strong.
Cheryl Blanks-Scott
As my favorite author, Ms. Cooper never fails to deliver words and wisdom of truth in a simple sometimes somber way

I would recommend this book to anyone searching for the meaning of life, written in a simplified, humorous yet meaningful and insightful manner.
zelda mincey
Mar 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stories that make you go hmm

A member of my book club picked this book. I enjoyed the stories of was like getting many books in one. Be blessed in all that you do and never stop writing!!!
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J. California Cooper first found acclaim as a playwright. The author of seventeen plays, she was named Black Playwright of the Year in 1978. It was through her work in the theater that she caught the attention of acclaimed poet and novelist Alice Walker. Encouraged by Walker to turn her popular storytelling skills to fiction, Cooper wrote her first collection of short stories, A Piece of Mine, in ...more

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