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Daddy Was a Number Runner (Contemporary Classics by Women) Paperback – December 1, 2002


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Product Details

  • Series: Contemporary Classics by Women
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: The Feminist Press at CUNY (December 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558614427
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558614420
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #968,783 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

For Francie, childhood in 1930s Harlem means having one brother in the gangs and another who gives up his dream of being a chemist because "how many firms gonna hire a black chemist?" It's having a big, beautiful father who can't find legal work and a mother who defies her husband and hires out as domestic labor in order to keep the family from starving. Childhood for Francie is having household chores like attaching the jumper to get free electricity and facing the disdain of Mrs. Burnett when she buys groceries from her on credit. It's avoiding the groping hands of the butcher, the baker and the fat little white man who sits next to her in the theater, or maybe not avoiding them for the extra meat, rolls, or dime they might offer. It means reading "smutty" comic books and walking down 118th street where the prostitutes work, but not knowing what is happening when her period starts. Francie's Harlem is a powerful, pent-up place, where dreams and good people are changed and destroyed, a neighborhood with strength and beauty, love and friendship, all trying to grow like plants without soil or water. And for Francie, during the year she turns from twelve to thirteen, living in Harlem means exchanging her longing for the white-hatted cowboy in the movies for a feeling of kinship with the Indians and a realization of what it means to be black and female in the United States. -- For great reviews of books for girls, check out Let's Hear It for the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14. -- From 500 Great Books by Women; review by Erica Bauermeister --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
74%
4 star
21%
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5%
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See all 19 customer reviews
I still have this book today and I read it over and over.
S. kellum
I was thinking today that this book has stayed on my mind all these years!All the years!I'm 34 and married three children , two of them of teenages.
milly
Interesting read for those interested in what the great depression was like for the black community in Harlem.
Nikki

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Zane on May 13, 2001
Format: Paperback
Reading Daddy Was A Number Runner for the second time as an adult was like visiting an old friend. I first read the novel when I was in junior high and the only thing I remembered from it was this freaky movie theater scene. That and the fact that it was good. Now that I am grown, I took a lot more away from it this time.
Francie is twelve and growing up in 1930's Harlem. She has two older brothers who have totally different aspirations in life. One wants to be a hoodlum and the other wants to quit school to become an undertaker. Her father, a number runner of course, is too proud to go onto public assistance and that causes a lot of turmoil between her parents. She has a best friend that likes to beat her up most of the time. Old white men try to feel her up whenever they get a chance. Francie really endures a lot for a person her age. If you are into period novels, this is a must read because it gives insight in a generation we know nothing about.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Dawn R Reeves on November 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
Daddy Was A Number Runner provides a horrific historical and sociological picture of Harlem during the 1930's post-Renaissance era. The reader travels throughout the daily trials and tribulations of Francie Coffin, an adolescent girl living with her brothers, mother and father, who is a number runner.

Statistically we know of the crime, deviance, poverty, fatherless homes and emerging welfare system but what we do not read about is the human elements; the feelings involved. Through Francie's own words and her dreams we are able to feel and capture Francie's plight. While Francie appears to be somewhat naïve she is also able to navigate the streets and people within Harlem. Francie serves as an errand girl for her father, gets into scuffles with her friend and is a victim of molestation. On the positive side she is an obedient daughter and sister, attends school and she loves to read. For Francie, reading and attending movies at the theater is her salvation from the madness.
The book goes one step further to examine Black and Jewish relationships. These relationships are presented in the form of tenant/landlord, student/teacher, customer/business owner and domestic/employer and in each, the black characters appear to be the victims. While not harboring resentment towards Jews as a group, the characters demonstrate a dislike towards the individual because in each example the Black character is shown to be subservient towards the Jewish character for survival.
The characters portrayed are captivating and one of the books largest strengths is the ability of Meriwether to show some positive aspects of the inhabitants. Through all of this despair we find love, kindness and support of family and neighbors, male pride, the importance of education, and compassion.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 20, 1999
Format: Paperback
I have been searching for this book since 1978. My sister checked it out at the local library during that time. I enjoyed reading it so much that I told my husband about it. We ordered it. I can't wait to read it again. I have read many black interest books, but I think that this one is my all time favorite. Throughout the struggles that Francie and her family faced, they still loved each other very much. Their neighbors in the story were also very close. I highly recommend this book to everyone.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book was assigned for my English 3 class. I am a freshman in highschool. Most books I read that were assigned in school are boring at the beginning. This book is interesting from the beginning to the end. This book showed me how hard it was during the Depression in Harlem.Fracie tells how her and her family suffer with money and how hard it wasto live. Some people say that this book should not be recommended to teens but I am a teen and if they are mature enough to understand it then they should be able to read it. After we read this book our teacher took us on a trip to Harlem where Francie lived. We saw where she lived and how far she had to walk when she went to her Aunt Hazels house. We went on the trip because HArlem looked pretty much the same since the time this book took place. I enjoyed the book and I am sure other people as well as teens my age will enjoy this book. Great to use for a report based on the Great Depression.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By milly on July 12, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was thinking today that this book has stayed on my mind all these years!All the years!I'm 34 and married three children , two of them of teenages. At the time I read this book I was a teen myself and would go to the library and take out alot of books to read. I read and I read. The thoughts of me reading this book were to be thoughtful and me hearing advise or just similar stories to my actual life. Growing up in Bushwick, Brooklyn,N.Y. was kind of similar. I guess I read to see this ending. So mine would be different... A great book....
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Xenaswarrior on January 29, 2006
Format: Paperback
I have a 1970 copy of this book, and I love it, absolutely love it. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to get lost in a book for hours. You feel like you're walking beside Francie, and Sukie on the streets of Harlem. This book is a thumbs up.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By G-TOWN@worldnet.att.net on November 15, 1998
Format: Paperback
I read this book when my older brother was in high school when I was about 13 and I can remember when I finally reached high school I went to the library to find it and couldn't. I'm 38 now but I can still remember Francie and the things she had to go through growing up in Harlem and thinking that it wasn't any different than growing up poor in the 70's in Oklahoma. The way the book was written, the descriptions and actions, it's just like I can remember seeing the movie of it. I plan to get this book so my 14 year old daughter can read it and maybe she'll understand how things were different for us then.
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Daddy Was a Number Runner (Contemporary Classics by Women)
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