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For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf Paperback – September 1, 1997

126 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Extraordinary and wonderful...Ntozake Shange writes with such exquisite care and beauty that anyone can relate to her message." -The New York Times

"Celebrates the capacity to master pain and betrayals with wit, sister-sharing, reckless daring, and flight and forgetfulness if necessary. She celebrates most of all women's loyalties to women." -Toni Cade Bambara, Ms. Magazine

"These poems and prose selections are...rich with the author's special voice: by turns bitter, funny, ironic, and savage; fiercely honest and personal." -New York Post

"Ntozake Shange's extraordinary "choreopoem"...is a dramatic elegy for black women with an undercurrent message for everyone. Its theme is not sorrow...but courage. Its strength is its passion and its reality....An unforgettable collage of one woman's view of the women of her race, facing everything from rape to unrequited love....Wisdom and naivete go hand in hand. Wounds and dream intermingle; strong passions melt into simple courage." -L.I. Press/Newhouse Newspapers

About the Author

Ntozake Shange, poet, novelist, playwright, and performer, wrote the Broadway-produced and Obie Award-winning For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf. She has also written numerous works of fiction, including Sassafras, Cypress and Indigo, Betsy Brown, and Liliane.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; Reprint edition (September 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684843269
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684843261
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (126 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,027 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ntozake Shange, poet, novelist, playwright, and performer, wrote the Broadway-produced and Obie Award-winning For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf. She has also written numerous works of fiction, including Sassafras, Cypress and Indigo, Betsy Brown, and Liliane.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

70 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Mazza HALL OF FAME on September 19, 2001
Format: Paperback
"For colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf," by Ntozake Shange, debuted on Broadway in 1976. In her introduction to the book version, the author describes the work as "a choreopoem" made up of individual poems that form "a single statement." This work of literature is a powerful exploration of the lives of Black women.
"For colored girls..." does not have a conventional "plot" or characters. The parts of the choreopoem are performed by characters described as "lady in brown," "lady in white," etc. Together, these women talk about spirituality, violence, female sexuality, music, and the discovery of one's heritage. One particularly moving part of the choreopoem is a tribute to Haitian leader Toussaint L'Ouverture.
"For colored girls..." is a stunning hybrid of poetry, drama, and feminist theology. It is both tragic and sensuous, with the healing power of ritual. The final scenes contain some of the most powerful words ever written for the theater. If you are interested in African-American literature, women's studies, or 20th century drama, I recommend you read this work.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
Shange outdid herself in this peice she covered every emotion colored women feel. From fear, to joy, from hatred to love, from confusion to understanding she has captured it she is in the same category with the Alice Walkers, Gloria Naylors and Toni Morrisons of the literary world. This book was required reading but it soon turned into pleasure and inspirational reading. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, and I am very saddened by the fact that I had to get to college before I every got the chance to. This book should be required reading for every young women in high school in the United States. The writing is simple yet breathtaking and it speaks to the very soul of the reader. I loved it and I plan to read it again. This choreopoem ranks right up there with "The Bluest Eye" as one of the most prolific writings of the twentieth century. Both of these works are the female version of Ellison's "Invisible Man" and we all know that regardless to what anyone says that is the most amazing book that has ever been written. Great job Ntozake Shange, you go girl!!!!!
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Marissa on July 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
Every time I read this masterpiece, it sparks a new emotion within me, and/or I see one of the pieces in a manner different from the previous times I've read it. It makes you laugh, cry, gasp, sing, reminisce, makes you mad...it'll make you feel so many different ways because as hard and rough as the book's language is, it's REAL. I guarantee that ANY woman (possibly men also) who reads this book will be able to relate to AT LEAST one of the characters here (if not, ALL of them). I also love the arrangement of the book. The detail of the stories and the dialogue, the colors, the dancing, the pain...I love it. This masterpiece has been around for over 25 years, and it's just as powerful as its very first publishing day.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lorrie on July 23, 2010
Format: Paperback
There are many messages in these poems and they are choreographed as a stage play as you read, you're reading them in script-prose.

****The main point of this whole set of choreo-poems is being happy as who you are, ultimately the redemption you seek is loving yourself. That is what makes these verses so powerful!

I have to admit, I had this book when I was younger and didn't appreciate it. Now, I am nearly 30 and it's with new insight and the wisdom of woman that I can feel and empathize with the pain, fear, humiliation, anger, frustration, longing, hope and courage of the 7 different rainbow colors (not skin colors)of ladies, from domestic violence, abortion, rape and other tales, it is something all women can relate to.

The message is told though in vernacular that often shows when you are sick and tired, you only want to vent, and poetically, not grammatically-correct is how we all vent. The vignettes in this play or choreopoems inspire to reach the hearts of not just all women, (no matter their color) but particularly African-American women. It definitely contains poems that are food for thought.

It is designed to provide hope. It seems dark what these women go through, their struggle, their pain, their fear, their humiliation, hurt, and ultimately their triumph, is something that can seem depressing to the immature reader (or the reader who only likes reading the happy ending). But this is raw truth, this is real, this is what happens in life and this is the story of not all womens' lives, or even some womens' lives, or even a majority of a particular culture of womens' lives, it is actually just stories to keep us appreciative of what we have, to show us to be cautious, to be inspired, to be honest, and to be forgiving.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Brenda on November 7, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
I was eighteen when I first heard of and read "For Colored Girls..." and thought it was provacative and way ahead of its time as it touched upon the evils of domestic violence, date rape and sexually transmitted desease. Now thirty-five years later, I still shed the same tears for the colored women, including myself who have experienced some of these life changing events. Their stories are our stories, whether untold or provoked and will unabashedly be revealed again in diaries, to trusted friends, or on the couches and chairs of countless therapists. My prayers go out to colored girls all over the world.
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