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(Sugar Lacey #1)

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  8,205 ratings  ·  801 reviews
The novel opens when a young prostitute comes to Bigelow, Arkansas, to start over, far from her haunting past. Sugar moves next door to Pearl, who is still grieving for the daughter who was murdered fifteen years before. Over sweet-potato pie, an unlikely friendship begins, transforming both women's lives--and the life of an entire town.

Sugar brings a Southern African-Amer
Paperback, 240 pages
Published January 2nd 2001 by Plume (first published February 1st 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 "Su…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)

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Average rating 4.28  · 
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 ·  8,205 ratings  ·  801 reviews

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Jun 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Bernice L McFadden's powerful classic multilayered southern American novel evokes the 1950s era with vibrancy and colour, and details the surprising friendship that springs up between neighbours, sex worker, Sugar Lacey, with her in your face attitude, and the still grieving Pearl Taylor, married to Joe, who has never got over the loss of her daughter, Jude, brutally raped and killed, her body discarded by the road 15 years ago, a devastating crime that never saw any form of justice. Set in Arka ...more
Jenna is buying a house and mostly too busy for GR ❤ ❀  ❤
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What a story! Poignant and raw, sweet and tender. Bernice McFadden is a brilliant writer who can tell a terrific story!

Sugar is the story of two broken but otherwise very different women and the healing friendship that transpires between them. Sugar, abandoned at birth and raised in a brothel, used and abused and full of pain, moves to a small town in Arkansas. Here she is confronted with hatred from the other women, all except from Pearl, a woman who is suffering her own kind of pain, that of
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
Jun 25, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 3-75-stars
In a Nutshell: I liked this quite a lot. Though it has a few flaws, considering it was written 22 years ago and was a debut work, it is very impactful and thought-provoking.

Story Synopsis:
After the brutal death of her daughter Jude fifteen years ago, Pearl, a faithful Christian, loving wife, and kind neighbour, is wrapped in grief. But when Sugar shifts into the opposite house, Pearl is as curious as the rest of the small town of Bigelow. Their connection gets off to a rocky start but soon trans
Cheryl James
Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Some books deserve to be read twice. "Second read and it's still a five star book"

Sugar "I wanna say sorry for the things I did and the things I didn't do"

This is a great Southern Read. I loved the story and I truly connected with the character's during their happiness and their sadness. This is a story of love, hate, forgiveness and all in between. I love how the author wrote the story with such meaning and great detail. I felt like a part of the family. The book ended on a sad note for Pearl a
This feels a little like a Toni Morrison or Zora Neale Hurston novel.
Set in Arkansas in a small town full of gossips and upstanding Christian do-gooders, the story focuses on the lives of Sugar Lacey, an itinerant sex worker who has just moved in to #10 Grove Street, and her new neighbor, the long-grieving Pearl Taylor whose daughter was horribly murdered 15 years prior.

The town hates Sugar, of course, and they look to Pearl to feed them salacious news of the whore next door. What happens, inste
Carmel Hanes
Mar 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
Take two very different women, shake them senseless with ugly pasts, drop them into a town full of rigid rules and judgement, then make them neighbors; and stand back.

Wait...what could have been ongoing feuds, tit-for-tat un-neighborliness, rumors whispered in back rooms, and genuine disrespect and hatred, instead becomes a magical transformation for each.

Despite having polar opposite personalities, a sweet potato pie (and a refusal to give up) precipitates friendship, triggering new possibili
Shonell Bacon
Jun 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
If you haven't read this, then SHAME ON YOU...for real. ...more
Aug 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
One of the more luxurious privileges & possibilities our humanity allow us is the act of reinvention. We have the ability to create our own realities! To have curiosity meet possibility so that we can be shaped & reshaped time & time again.

This a privilege, and a luxurious one, because sometimes life resists our efforts to reinvent & create our own reality. VERY HEAVILY, in fact. Once you live a certain lifestyle is can seem IMPOSSIBLE to shake the labels that people force upon you. No matter wh
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
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
Jul 29, 2011 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
ReadAlongWithSue [Catching-Up]
Set around 1955 in Alabama. A Southern read which I love. I listened to this on audio and loved the dialogue and accents.

15 years ago before she met Sugar her daughter was horrifically murdered. Be aware there are some graphic scenes, but it had to done to show the reader how violent this was.
Imagine Pearl, not only her heart breaking from the loss of her beloved daughter but the horrifying way she went to her death.

Hate, rape, shame, secrets, murder and friendship found in unusual places
I just love the way that right from the first pages Bernice McFadden's characters jump off the page and in this case Sugar Lacey makes her grand entrance, strutting through the small town of Bigelow, Arkansas with her high heels and tight dress, bright coloured wig, peering through the window of the hairdresser where all the talk happens and on to number 10 Grove street, next door to Pearl and Joe.

Pearl has promised the Reverend to welcome this newcomer, but she wasn't expecting the shock of see
Srivalli Rekha
Jun 25, 2022 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars

Sugar is a young prostitute who comes to settle down in Bigelow, Arkansas, and start over. The black Christian townsfolk are not happy for reasons that aren't obvious until they are.

Pearl is still living a half-life, after 15 years after the brutal death of her daughter, Jude. Sugar's arrival ignites something in Pearl. The duo forms a tentative bond that strengthens over time. Pearl's husband, Joe is a steady character, being there when needed.

Things seem to be better, but life has
Apr 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very powerful, poignant, touching. I believe there is a sequel which I need to read because I can’t bare for the story to stop where it did!
Jan 22, 2010 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
Nov 01, 2007 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
Hot dang! This book was masterfully written and the buildup of the story was perfectly written. I’m so excited to know what happens next in the life of Sugar. After reading this book, I now have an answer to that bothersome question that people always ask, which is "what character would you like to sit down and have a chat with?,” it’s Sugar Lacey for sure! I'd high recommend this book! #RUNDontWalk ...more
J Beckett
Sep 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Title: Sugar: A Novel

Author: Bernice L. McFadden:

Hardcover: 240 pages

Publisher: Dutton Adult (January 10, 2000)

Bernice McFadden's first novel, Sugar, encapsulates the elements that exemplify the making of a classic. This is not to say that it was perfect, for that would be pretentious on my part, but it was arguably a guaranteed page turner that you hoped would last just a little while longer. As a debut, Sugar did not lack any of the many elements we have come to know and love about McFadden's
Mar 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
16 years later...still 5 stars! I love this book.
Rick Slane reads more reviews less
Adult novel takes place in central Arkansas 1955 deals with prostitution and race.
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In the spring of 1940, “The murder had white man written all over it. But no one would say it above a whisper. It was 1940. It was Bigelow, Arkansas. It was a black child. Need anymore be said”?

Sugar is a story that shows how two women cross paths at harsh times in their lives, and how like a magnet, nothing could disconnect them for long. In the spring of 1955, the typical Black woman in this time is everything that Sugar is not. A Black woman is a mother with no less than 4 kids who works all
Alretha Thomas
Sep 24, 2013 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
Oct 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First of all, Sugar Lacey's story is full of hurt. The gut-punches and tangle of relationships in this novel nearly took off the top of my head, but Bernice L. McFadden wrote this book with great love for her characters; delivering the story in rich, affectionate, tangible imagery and crackling detail. ...more
Bernice McFadden is a brilliant storyteller. This book was painful, but so very well written. I felt Pearl’s pain transcend to Sugar’s and collide with Jude’s. It was truly a heart wrenching story but I’m glad I got the chance to finally read it. I wasn’t a huge fan of the ending but I feel that 4.5 stars (rounded up for honesty of these characters) is great way to honor this beautiful piece of work.
Feb 01, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book! From the moment I read the first page, I absolutely knew this book spoke to my soul. I reread the first 100 words and marveled at how Ms. McFadden writes with such clarity and ferocity about subjects that would only make me weep. Very powerful
Jan 23, 2013 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
Jul 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-literature
Bernice L. McFadden's Sugar is a novel about finding your place in the world and in the family you create for yourself. It takes place in 1955 Arkansas, when Sugar, a vivacious and unapologetic sex worker, moves to the small, Christian town of Bigelow. Her next door neighbor, Pearl, is drawn to her, partly because Sugar resembles her teenage daughter who was brutally murdered 15 years ago.

I was amazed at the characterization McFadden was able to achieve in such a short, quick-moving book. While
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Play Book Tag: Sugar by Bernice L. McFadden 4 stars 1 7 Jan 09, 2022 02:59PM  
The WITTY Book Cl...: *** #25: Sugar by Bernice L McFadden*** 9 21 May 10, 2020 05:23PM  
Sugar is considered to be a "whore" 1 12 Mar 14, 2017 12:37PM  
The end 3 33 May 24, 2015 02:12PM  
Black Coffee: September BB: Sugar 46 27 Oct 04, 2014 08:45AM  

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BERNICE L. McFADDEN is the author of ten critically acclaimed novels including Praise Song for the Butterflies (Long listed for the 2019 Women's Prize in Fiction ) The Book of Harlan (winner of a 2017 American Book Award and the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work, Fiction) Sugar, Loving Donovan, Nowhere Is a Place, The Warmest December, Gathering of Waters (a New York Times Editors’ C ...more

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Sugar Lacey (2 books)
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Here at Goodreads World Headquarters, we tend to read a lot of books. Like, a lot a lot. And every December, as we finish up our...
28 likes · 14 comments
“ '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.”
“There’s a little bit of hooker in every woman. A little bit of hooker and a little bit of God.” —Sarah Miles” 4 likes
More quotes…