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In her second novel, Southgate (The Fall of Rome) explores how one generation's liberation becomes another's idea of constraint. Nested narratives follow three black women—Mildred, daughter Angela, and granddaughter Tamara—briefly breaking tradition to define themselves. Tamara, an aspiring Spike Lee, frames the tale of Angela, who escapes a prosaic life playing the obligatory naked black woman in the blaxploitation films of the 1970s. Hollywood's limitations turn Angela's dreams to frustration, and her outsized sexual displays incur her mother's wrath. Bold decisions and compromises leave Angela, a single mother working in a doctor's office by day, watching videos of her glory days at night with her female lover, while insisting that she is not a "dyke." The narrative spirals back to Mildred, showing how movies—a conduit through which Mildred and teenage Angela connect—are a window to a better world. The narrative culminates in Tamara's documentary about Angela, Mildred and herself, black women in America, "making their lives mean something where they can." While what should invigorate—Tamara taking the creative reins of a form her elders limitedly participated in—lacks conviction because of a too-neat conclusion, the book's emotional intensity and its characters' complex motivation overcome occasional simplification. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Spanning three generations and the continental U.S.--Tulsa, L.A., and New York--this novel tells of the struggles of three black women entranced by the power of movies to represent the longings of ordinary people and to fulfill the desire for self--expression. Mildred, who lost her mother in the race riots of Tulsa in 1921, escapes into the fantasies of movies, unaware of her daughter Angela's powerful desire for a similar escape. When Angela comes of age, she leaves stifling Tulsa for the excitement of L.A., just in time for the rise of blaxploitation movies. Angela becomes immersed in the culture of the glitzy town, working as a Playboy bunny, hoping for her big break. Her friendship with Sheila, a fellow actress and bunny, sustains her even after the out-of-wedlock birth of her daughter, Tamara. Eventually, Tamara's dreams take her cross-country to New York for a stab at a filmmaking career. Lost in their own dreams and desires, alienated from one another for long stretches, these women are ultimately united by a love of movies and their power to transcend and transform. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This is a great book thus far. It was delivered in great condition--though not new as expected, for there was a note to Meghan in the front cover (haha)! Read morePublished 21 months ago by MyTwoCents
A very interesting read covering three distinct contrasting eras of Black Women. Many surprises and unexpected turns. What one must do to pursue one's dreams.Published on January 23, 2013 by Imani J.L. Douglas
Angela was brought up in Tulsa, Oklahoma by her mother Mildred and her pharmacist father. She had an older brother and sister. Mildred never fit into the conformity of Tulsa. Read morePublished on August 23, 2010 by Judaye
This book is nothing short of amazing. Martha Southgate's characters are so vivid it feels as if they are actual people. Read morePublished on January 24, 2008 by Federica Roach
I loved the "Fall of Rome" and I was thrilled to find this book completely unexpectedly on my library shelf. WHAT A BOOK! Read morePublished on April 25, 2007 by Karen A.
I must say that her first novel "Fall of Rome" is a hard act to follow; however, Martha Southgate's sophomore effort "Third Girl from the Left" supports my first impression of her... Read morePublished on March 9, 2007 by Angela of Color Me Purple
Martha Southgates Third Girl from the Left, is excellently written with a beleivable plot. I thought that Southgates references and detail regarding the 1970's Blaxploitation... Read morePublished on January 18, 2007 by W. Jones
I haven't read FALL OF ROME, so I have nothing to compare it to, but I thought THIRD GIRL FROM THE LEFT was a great read. Read morePublished on August 23, 2006 by Kharabella