From Publishers Weekly
journalist, wife and mother of three, Parker offers some sharp insights into balancing the multiple roles that engage contemporary women. Her remix blends history and memoir in "an assembly of voices and perspectives... of women... whose struggles presaged modern womanhood"—that is, middle-class black women for whom deciding not to go to work "wasn't an option at all." Money management, child-rearing, career management, cooking, religion, sexuality, having fun—all the things that women chat about among themselves get their moments. Parker's reach is broad, embracing her family, historical models (e.g., Ida B. Wells Barnett, Madame C.J. Walker) and a wide array of artifacts of popular culture (film, soap opera, rap music, magazines, etc.). Race plays a role in most of her observations; sometimes, as in the issues of skin color, hair and passing, it takes center stage. Parker's volume is best read in segments; a certain repetitiveness characterizes the remixing, and the pop culture references date quickly. Most working women will, nevertheless, find food for thought; as Parker puts it, "It's not that I believe that black women have all the answers—only that we have struggled with the questions longer and that sometimes that makes some of our tool sets more expansive." (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Parker, a Pulitzer Prize-nominated reporter with the Washington Post
, intersperses historical context, her newspaper commentaries, and current observations in this sharp perspective on black womanhood. Parker grew up on the South Side of Chicago, watching the progress of generations beginning with her grandmother; she sees a widening of possibilities tinged with a history of limitations for black women. She recalls stories of black women making do and creating space for themselves, bringing glamour to the dismal and peace to the turbulent. Contrasting the struggles of black women to those of middle-class white women, Parker maintains that black women--with a longer, more complex history of balancing work and family--have broader skills for coping with demands while finding and securing joy in life. Throughout, Parker notes that whenever she is overwhelmed by the responsibilities of a journalism career, marriage, and motherhood with three children, she thinks of slave women with backbreaking dawn-to-dusk demands, and she is renewed. A heartfelt and probing look at issues of race and gender. Vanessa BushCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved