This is the story of a girl labeled as "black," who sees the world in Technicolor and fights for self-definition in a microcosm that revolves around flesh tones. K. Danielle Edwards, author of Stacy Jones. --kdanielleedwards.com
About the Author
Alabama native Priscilla Lalisse-Jespersen moved to Paris from Manhattan in 1999 where she worked as a magazine editor for C++ and JOOP Magazines. Her articles appeared regularly in a variety of online publications such as Bonjour Paris, Café De La Soul, and Paris Woman Journal and B.E.T., until she launched her own webzine called Prissy Mag, which offers a unique view into every day French life, as seen through the eyes of Anglophones. Her debut novel Stockdale tells the tale of Cassie Taylor, a young heroine who longs to escape from the confines of small-town life. Her second book, Next of Kin will be published at the end of 2010.
Alabama native Priscilla Lalisse-Jespersen moved to Paris from Manhattan in 1999 where she worked as a magazine editor for C++ and JOOP Magazines. Her articles appeared regularly in a variety of online publications such as Bonjour Paris, Café De La Soul, Paris Woman Journal and B.E.T., until she launched her own webzine called Prissy Mag, which offers a unique view into every day French life, as seen through the eyes of Anglophones. Her debut novel Stockdale (2005) tells the tale of Cassie Taylor, a young heroine who longs to escape from the confines of small-town life. Her second book, Next of Kin (2011), is a memoir about losing her father to cancer while she lived thousands of miles away in France.
Cassie is a smart, enterprising, African-American woman growing up in a small town of the deep south of the United States in the 1980s. It was practically yesterday, yet the social attitudes of the population seem to be stuck in the segregated 50s.
The tone of this novel is relaxed and flowing, with some chuckles and occasional misting of the eyes. Reading this felt like catching up with a childhood friend in a long coffee klatch. Some of the scenes and situations seem heartbreakingly real... probably because the writing is not overwrought or manipulative towards the reader. I felt Cassie's frustration and rage at being marooned in a society whose priorities and values are so obviously screwed up although I have never experienced much racism myself. I really hope that attitudes have evolved over the past 20 years and continue to do so.
Cassie's story illustrates that assumptions of all kinds should be re-examined (and usually discarded), life is never quite what we were taught to expect, doing the right thing holds no guarantees and smart people also make bad choices. The important thing is to have the courage and tolerance to recover, accepting and forgiving oneself and others in order to move on.
I read this book almost a month ago and still feel inspired by Cassie...
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It was written very well, but as a reader I couldn't figure out why Cassie was the way she was. Why this woman was so confused when it came to love, men, and relationships. Why her choices were so juvenile when I couldn't see anything in her homelife to suggest it.
Cassie has grown up in a segregated town, it was intergrated, but you knew that to associate or "be with" a person of another race was an unspoken rule. Her best friend committs suicide because of this unspoken rul. When Cassie falls in love with a boy that she knows is wrong for her she can't seem to let him loose. Finally, she goes to college where she falls in love with an soldier in the military. She leaves college to be with him in Korea, but has a hard time adjusting to her new envoirnment. Her naivete is so crazy you have to wonder what made this girl fall for a guy that wasn't her husband who only had been gone two days, yet she suddenly doesn't love him anymore. It's immature and like none of her decisions are hers. When she realizes she's been "Played" again, she runs away and goes back home only to let the "bad boy" back in her life. Have we not learned anything yet Cassie???
If anyone says it was her father, you can't be serious. She searches for her father and finally finds him only to find he is an alcoholic and wasn't worth anything. She is disappointed in her vision of him and her sixteen year old sister is more mature and turns out to have her head on straight more than her Cassie does. I almost wished she wrote about her instead of Cassie.
This character just left so many questions that I left the book wondering about this woman/child. It was too many things that made you ask why, but no answers to those reasons.
Who would think that in the 1980's and even today racism is rearing its ugly head. Stockdale addresses these issues as we look through the window of Cassie's life as a young black girl searching for love in the segregated south. Although segregation has long been abolished legally, this doesn't change the deep-rooted beliefs in some of today's southern habitants. There is oh so much more to Cassie than one can ever imagine. You will be hard pressed to put Stockdale down.
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