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Mama Day Paperback – April 23, 1989
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
She uses an interesting narrative technique where two chapters describe the same events, only one is from the perspective of Cocoa and the next from the perspective of George, the niece and 'nephew-in-law' of the title character. This creates a compelling love story, where the reader is allowed into the minds of both participants.
Mama Day, the title character and a wonderfully realized force of nature, is the matriarch of both the Day family and the entire population of Willow Springs, an island loosely a part of the United States but not any particular state.
This setting seems reminiscent of the Gullah Islands, where African-Americans have had freedom, land, and relative isolation since the early 1800's, and it allows Naylor to create characters who appear to be much more victorious over life than in some other novels by African-American authors. This novel is not about suffering with dignity. Rather, the inhabitants of Willow Springs have an idea there's something not quite right with those on the 'mainland', ie the rest of the country. In many ways, they appear to be right!
This is a masterpiece of contemporary literature, a pleasure to experience. "Mama Day" is an entertaining and original look at family, community, and love. With a litte voodoo sprinkled in for good measure.
Words almost fail me when trying to think of something to write that will make others understand what I mean and what I FEEL about this book, this story.
I read it slowly because that is the way the story unfolded to me. It couldn't be rushed. It refused to be rushed because there was so much it had to tell. The simplicity of it is what makes it so ethereal and larger than life. Gloria Naylor has a grip and taskmaster like command of language and can bend and shape it to her will. This book has left an indelible mark on my psyche, my soul. The love story was just one component of the book and not even the best part, but the story as a whole wraps itself around you tightly. It rocks you gently and leaves you reeling. Just like finding a lover such as that, I know it will be a long time before I find another story that touches me so deeply.
Readers beware: this book is best for those weary souls who have succumbed to sarcasm, cynicism and pessimism growing like weeds around the heart.
Naylor may begin her story with a little island called Willow Springs, and she may tempt us and draw us in with promises of adventure, history, a search for long-buried treasure and mystery, but ultimately this book is about faith. It is not your everyday brand of faith that may be conjured when it seems there is a hardship abrewing. No, this is the type of deep down, didn't-know-you-had-it-still-burning-within-you, long forgotten, but still important brand of faith in humanity, and in love which makes each day worth living. Lots of us have lost it. Lots of us have forgotten that it makes this life a lot easier to live. Lots of us have given up on ever seeing it again.
However, with Naylor's stunning, and accurate comprehension of the way love exists between two hearts, no soiled soul will go untilled. It is almost as if Miss Gloria had the privilege of serving an internship with love itself at an early age. She writes what we think. She writes what we feel. She does all this, sometimes, before we have ever thought it or felt it. She does this without knowing if we ever have thought it or felt it. But when you put this book down, you will think it, you will feel it.
The way that Naylor dualistically narrates this book, whether it is an exchange between George and Cocoa, or a discourse between Mama Day and Cocoa, gives us the chance to believe that the same center exists at the core of every human soul.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is one of my favorite novels. I don't read contemporary novels much. I'm more into historic research and scholarly social history references, so I tend to prefer classic... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Dark Strangers
This is one of the very few books that I reread again and again. Yes, IMHO it IS just that good.Published 16 months ago by kathy
I kinda liked it being that I had to read it for class. The novel can get a little Terry McMillan-ish but otherwise it gives an African-American spin on "The Tempest".Published 20 months ago by MnM
So much about this book tickled me. I recognized the relationship between Cocoa and George, as well as the descriptions of the land and people in that space between GA/SC. Read morePublished 21 months ago by a reader