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Daughter: A Novel Hardcover – September 16, 2003

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; First Edition edition (September 16, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743211847
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743211840
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,012,471 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Solemn and occasionally maudlin, this first novel by the author of the acclaimed memoir The Prisoner's Wife tells a tragic, too-familiar story: a promising young African-American is mistakenly shot by the police in Brooklyn, N.Y. Nineteen-year-old Aya has been getting her life together after a brush with the law and is working hard to earn a college degree. Only the coolness of her beautiful, distant single mother, Miriam, prevents her from being truly happy. When Aya is gravely wounded, Miriam is forced to face her own past and examine her emotionally arid life. Shifting focus rather clumsily, Bandele chronicles Miriam's strict upbringing and forbidden romance with sweet Bird, an ambitious janitor. Miriam loses Bird just before Aya is born, and when Aya is taken from her, too, she resorts to violence. Though she ends up in prison, she is finally able to tentatively connect with others again, meditating on a line by Aya's favorite poet, Sonia Sanchez: "I shall become a collector of me/ And put meat on my soul." Bandele tells her story in simple language, though plaintive asides ("have you ever told me a joke, Mommy, or kissed me just because?"), and italicized laments ("Oh God, didn't I pay with Bird?") give the novel a sentimental veneer. Bandele's low-key take on a grim aspect of the urban black experience stands in refreshing contrast to more sensationalistic renditions, but Miriam's muddled final epiphany will leave readers wishing for something more.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

A black mother's rage and sorrow drive this passionate first novel about a beloved daughter shot dead by the police on the streets of Brooklyn. The story begins with smart college student Aya Rivers chafing at her controlling, secretive mother, Miriam. Out running one day, Aya is shot dead by a policeman. It's a case of mistaken identity. No one is accountable. Then the story switches to Miriam, alone, remembering her break from her cold, secretive home and her love for Aya's dad, Bird. Aya never knew him, never knew that he survived Vietnam only to be shot dead by the police in the war at home. Bandele, an editor for Essence magazine and author of the memoir The Prisoner's Wife (1999), writes about family grief and bitterness with searing immediacy. Woven into the mother-daughter story, Bird's life of hope and heartbreak is beautifully told, his dreams of college, family, and work destroyed even before his murder. The angry message is sometimes overwhelming, but this powerful story does what the author asks for: it breaks the silence. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 29 customer reviews
This book made me cry.
Manhattan Mom
I read the book and simply fell in love with Ms. Bandele's writing style: her willingness to "bare her soul" and share her true emotions.
R.E.A.L. Reviewers
Enjoyed this novel thoroughly; a moving coming of age story, about the complicated relationship between mother and daughter.
Audrey Glenn

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Daughter is one of those soul-stirring works that seizes your attention. It compels you to glimpse into your own life and seek change within yourself. Thought-provoking, loving, and moving, asha bandele has written a novel about the relationship between a mother and daughter who never really knew one another -- until it was too late.
Miriam is the giving mother who would do anything to ensure Aya's needs were met. Yet, she wasn't the kind of mother who gave hugs freely, said "I love you" just because, or allowed herself to speak openly with her daughter. She felt the less Aya knew about her past, the less hurt and disappointed she would be.
Aya, at the opening of the novel, is a 19-year-old college student who made excellent grades and did what she was told. Although she loves her mother dearly, her only wish is to know who her father was. All she's ever really known about Bird was that he was a Vietnam War veteran.
Bird was so much more than that, as we find out. Miriam has a past with Bird that goes a lot deeper than Aya could ever know. But sadly, she never finds out because her life is tragically taken from her by police who mistakenly kill her. And Miriam not only grieves for her daughter, but grieves for things she's always known but could never tell Aya.
bandele's writing is superb and one could almost lose herself in the lyrical, surreal writing from a writer who seems destined to be one of our most renowned Black authors.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By NicoleWasHere on March 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I have finished reading this book and it IS one of THE BEST books I have read in MY LIFE.

This will be my new gift book for the women friends in my life.

Ahhh ..... it had truly captured my heart.

If you have a daughter, if you are a daughter, if you know a daughter, if you plan on having a daughter ..... BUY THIS BOOK!

It is about a woman who's daughter is killed by the police.

It goes into her life and the relationship, or lack of relationship she had with her daughter.

It is about not holding back.

It is about words never said.

It is about regret.

It is about LIVING regardless of the heartbreak.

It is about love lost ..... BUT having the courage to still get up and LIVE.

It is about having a voice regardless of the shame.

It is about the shame and sharing the story of shame.

Oh, it is about LIFE.

I love it.

It has touched something deep inside of me.

I am so full of emotions when I think about the many messages of this book.

Oh, and the writing is so GOOD.

Asha is one hell of a writer.

I can't wait for her to write more.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Its been a long time since I read a book that touched me the way Daughter has. After reading The Prisoners Wife I was looking forward to reading asha bandele's next book. One Sunday while attending the 5th Ave Book Fair in NYC I had the pleasure of meeting asha and her daughter. I was fortunate to have her autograph my copy of Daughter. I couldn't wait to start reading and once I started I wasn't dissapointed.
I was swept up in the story of Miriam and Aya. As a mother with 2 daughters I understand the delicate balance of the mother/daughter relationship.
asha bandele is as very talented writer and I look forward to reading more from her.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 6, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I have been waiting on this book from asha bandele. I loved Prisoner's Wife and she didn't let me down with "Daughter" This book is like literary poetry. The story of a mother and a daughter, grieving and LOVE...will leave it at that so as not to give it all away. But, I will say that "Daughter" is for people who appreciate not only a gripping and moving story, but also long for stories told with beauty, vivid imagery, poetic language and resonance. Like in Ms. bandele's other book, "The Prisoner's Wife", she has the ability to not only tell the story but fill you up with the emotion of characters. Feel what they feel and really take the reader into the world of the characters. So many books today by other contemporary writers are shallow and empty but after I finished reading I thought, "Ok, this is a real writer with things on her mind worth reading" The kind of writer that only comes around every once in a great while. bandele is truly gifted with the the use of language and storytelling. Glorious.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By vannie osborne on July 25, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Ms. Bandele's latest novel, Daughter, is quite the spell. From beginning to end, Daughter mesmerizes. The book also enlightens readers to the vast murders by policemen. You hear about these horrors or read about them in papers or maybe you've witnessed one at your door step. Ms. Bandele shines a light on the aftermath, the raw emotions left on the surface when a loved one is shot down under the guise of "the officer was just doing his job," or "he felt threatened." And while this non-fictional truth about law enforcement plagues the nation, Ms. Bandele brilliantly remains focused on the residue. The novel never once reels off into the path of anger-writing, but pans on love, maternal trials and rituals of grief.

The novel interestingly deals with motifs that run throughout black life. The language is precise---you are sure to find motifs that run throughout your own life in this book: the way Mama speaks, one truth about black Vietnam vets, the smells of food, the way grief unfolds in the mind and body, how the furniture sits.

Daughter tells the story of how death robs one mother of affection, not responsibility, but affection. Miriam's character is highly complex. You feel pity for her parents who take sheltering their daughter too seriously. They often cross the line of "do-good, too-good." Their lifestyle might take you back to "Leave It To Beaver," but with a strong twist of black reality. It is this upright, dangerous behavior that sends their daughter to look for love elsewhere. Love that listens, love that doesn't overly protect, overly instruct, love that has a little slack in its spine. We see Miriam move away from the false pretenses of her family at the tender age of 16 into a life with an older man who teaches her what she has already felt.
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