Mercy's Reviews > Silver Sparrow

Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones
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's review
Aug 12, 2012

really liked it
Read in August, 2012

***spoiler alert***

In this book unfolds the story of two African American sisters, Dana Lynne and Chaurisse, who are the fruit of a bigamist marriage in Atlanta, Georgia during the 70s. Dana is the child from the second marriage, the "secret" daughter, who craves to be recognized in public by her father, and to stop being second-best to her father's "first" family. Chaurisse is the lonely, publicly recognized daughter of the first legitimate marriage, who knows nothing of her father's double life. When both sisters, the "silver girl" and the legitimate daughter, meet and become friends, all hell breaks loose, with repercussions felt by both daughters and both families.

I really enjoyed reading this book. I don't usually read a lot of African-American literature - I don't know why, I really need to work on that - and this one made me want find more books from where this came from. The concept of bigamy is so controversial in this day and age: why do the women accept to get married in the first place, we wonder? Do they lack self-esteem? what happens to the kids caught between the choices of their parents?

In Silver Sparrow, both women are independent- financially anyway- each with their own businesses, each (it seems), able to support themselves and their children. So why get in this arrangement, and in the case of Chaurisse's mother, why stay when the truth is out? Tayari Jones doesn't try to defend any of the characters' actions and reactions, or tie the end in neat little pieces. There is no happy ending, just a realist end to a sad story. And that is what I like about it.

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