What's the Name of That Book??? discussion

Tessie
This topic is about Tessie
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SOLVED: Children's/YA > SOLVED. 1970's or earlier YA novel on school desegregation, Black girl admitted to exclusive prep school. [s]

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message 1: by SamSpayedPI (last edited May 07, 2018 08:06AM) (new)

SamSpayedPI | 2075 comments I read this book in the 1970's (possibly early 1980's, but unlikely) but it seemed as if it was written a bit earlier; I found the inherent racism of the book jarring at the time.

The MC was the first Black girl ever to have been admitted into an exclusive girl's prep school.

The students, while friendly enough to the MC, kept complaining that everything at X Academy was being "handed to MC on a silver platter" rather than her having to work really hard for it like the white girls (although everyone admitted that the MC was no less qualified for everything).

The last two books I was searching for were written by Hila Colman, and this one really sounds like something that Hila Colman would write, but nothing in her book list jumps out at me.

Distingushing details:

The girls all took MC on a "snipe hunt." Oddly, everyone, including the MC, seemed perfectly aware of what a "snipe hunt" was; MC wasn't actually looking for snipes. It actually seemed more like a paper chase, maybe.

The MC got caught in the rain and had to press her hair with butter.

The school play that year had a role of a Black maid, whose famous line of dialogue was something to the effect of "Don't eat dem eggs!" The girls all expected the role to be "handed to MC on a silver platter" since she was the only Black girl in the school; instead, to MC's disappointment but also somewhat to her relief, the token Asian girl is given the role, and MC was cast as an understudy. Of course, (view spoiler). Everyone made a really big deal about how the entire play hinged on how the character said "don't eat dem eggs!"


message 4: by SamSpayedPI (new)

SamSpayedPI | 2075 comments It might be Tessie (the second book cover looks pretty familiar). There's no easy way of finding out, though, since I can't find any electronic versions of the book to search. The Kirkus Review does mention "an emergency hair-straightening" and a "sick-performer, absent-understudy, show-must-go-on finale" so it's quite likely the right book.


message 5: by Rainbowheart (new)

Rainbowheart | 21140 comments There's also Mary Jane, but that's about a girl integrating a public school.

Not many titles with this theme back in the day, so I'd say Tessie is almost certainly your book.


message 6: by Paige (new)

Paige | 795 comments Does this make Tessie seem more or less familiar/right?

https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-re...


message 7: by SamSpayedPI (new)

SamSpayedPI | 2075 comments Paige wrote: "Does this make Tessie seem more or less familiar/right?

https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-re..."


That's the same review I mentioned earlier.


message 8: by Rainbowheart (new)

Rainbowheart | 21140 comments Found a snippet view on Google Books.

One of the chapters is titled "Hobbe on a Silver Platter" and a character says, "Tessie was handed Hobbe on a silver platter." There's also extensive discussion about the snipe hunt. "This snipe hunt was going to be a lot different, Tillie warned. Tessie didn't say anything. She decided to worry about snipe when the time came." It also mentions the line in the play, "And if anyone says, 'Don't eat dem eggs,' I'll brain them."

Other characters besides Tessie include Tillie, Eve, Doris, Teddy, Ethel, Susan, Bea, and teachers named Miss Pringle and Miss Colfax.


message 9: by SamSpayedPI (new)

SamSpayedPI | 2075 comments Rainbowheart wrote: "Found a snippet view on Google Books.

One of the chapters is titled "Hobbe on a Silver Platter" and a character says, "Tessie was handed Hobbe on a silver platter." There's also extensive discussi..."


Yes, that's the book!


message 10: by SamSpayedPI (new)

SamSpayedPI | 2075 comments I forgot to say thank you. Thank you!


message 11: by Rainbowheart (new)

Rainbowheart | 21140 comments Haha, I forgot about this one.

You're welcome!


message 12: by SamSpayedPI (new)

SamSpayedPI | 2075 comments BTW, the "don't eat dem eggs" play was Dear Ruth.


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