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August 2020: Other Books > Oreo, by Fran Ross; 5 Stars

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Hahtoolah | 432 comments Oreo, by Fran Ross (1974)

What’s not to love about a novel that, within its first few pages contains the following:

There is no weather per se in this book. … Assume whatever season you like throughout. Summer makes the most sense … That way pages do not have to be used up describing people taking off and putting on overcoats.

This novel is a very funny novel about relations between African-Americans and Jews. Fran Ross (1935 ~ 1985) was the daughter of a Jewish father and an African-American mother. She had also been a comedy writer for Richard Pryor, hence, her humor in this book.

The heroine of the novel is also the daughter of a Jewish father and Black mother. Although her given name was Christine Clark, she was known by family and friends as Oreo. Ostensibly, it was because her grandmother called her Oriole after the bird. But, of course, this is a nod to the fact that the name is also a racial slur.

Her parent’s marriage causes concern on both sides of the family. Oreo is raised by her maternal grandmother after her father deserts the family, but not before he leaves his legacy of Yiddish words and phrases, and her mother travels with a theater troupe.

When she reaches of age, Oreo sets off for New York City to find her father and his new family. This book is hard to describe, as it is written in such a humorous manner, complete with graphs, tables and mathematical equations. It addresses heavy issues on race relations and is quite relevant in todays atmosphere.

5 Stars


message 2: by Shelly (new)

Shelly | 579 comments This sounds like the right combination of serious ideas, humor, and quirkiness.


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