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What You Owe Me Mass Market Paperback – Unabridged, September 3, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
The friendship between a black woman and a new immigrant in 1940s California sets in motion events that span two generations in Campbell's (Singing in the Comeback Choir) densely plotted new novel. Hosanna Clark, a maid at an elegant Los Angeles hotel, befriends her new white co-worker Gilda Rosenstein, a Holocaust survivor whose family had owned a cosmetics factory. When Hosanna tries a special lotion Gilda has made, she persuades Gilda to produce it for Hosanna to sell to local black women. They are very successful, and at Gilda's suggestion they open a joint bank account. Not long after, Gilda and her new husband disappear with all their profits. Daughter Matriece, a witness to Hosanna's struggle to survive on her own, resolves to achieve the success her mother never had; she eventually becomes a division president in Gilda's cosmetics empire. Ignorant of Matriece's identity, Gilda mentors the young woman, with whom she feels an unexplained bond. Gilda's reaction, when she finally learns the truth, is unexpected, and she startles everyone with a surprising proposal that brings the story to a neat conclusion. Numerous subplots crowd the novel, covering issues from reparations and education to romance and betrayal. Campbell's detailed treatment of each accounts for the book's length, but all are credibly tied to the central tale. Character portraits are sometimes shallow, and the story's length tests the reader's stamina, but those with the patience to follow its intricate, entwined relationships will find the novel rewarding. (Aug. 6)Forecast: This wide-ranging effort is most reminiscent of Campbell's 1994 Brothers and Sisters and is positioned to perform just as strongly. First serial went to Essence magazine, and the book has been chosen as a main selection of the Black Expression Book Club and as an alternate selection of BOMC, the Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club and QPB. A major ad/promo campaign and a 27-city author tour will cover all conceivable bases.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Campbell (Brothers and Sisters) here tells the story of Hosanna Clark, a black maid in a Los Angeles hotel, and her surprising relationship with Gilda, a white Jewish migr e from Poland. Just after World War II, the women join forces to promote a hand lotion that Gilda makes, with Gilda managing the financial end of their newborn partnership and Hosanna hustling the product. But just as they quit their jobs to make cosmetics for black women full time, Gilda disappears, as does all the cash in their joint bank account. Gilda starts her own cosmetics company, which brings her both fame and fortune, and Hosanna passes her jealousy, anger, and thirst for revenge on to her daughter, Matriece. Matriece goes to work for Gilda after Hosannah dies, with unfocused plans for revenge, but the crisis is unexpectedly resolved, with a happy ending for everyone. Campbell freights her story with ethical and religious messages and abundant black/white and parent/child conflicts it cannot quite sustain. Though the characters are well drawn, they are stereotypical, and their dialog is thin and somewhat stilted. Not as convincing as her other works but still a good read; recommended for public libraries. Joanna Burkhardt, Coll. of Continuing Education Lib., Univ. of Rhode Island, Providence
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
The characters were thin and stereotypical: the deadbeat dad; the famous, lonely and unhappy rock star; the son & daughter who feel overshadowed by their powerful father and mother, etc. This book could have be tighter by losing 200 pages. I hate to criticize any of Campbell's books because she is so talented. So on that note, I will HIGHLY recommend reading some her earlier works like "Your Blues Ain't Like Mine", "Brothers & Sisters", and "Singing in the Comeback Choir." Those are GREAT books. ...
Although some parts were slow and in this reader�s opinion I think it could have been shortened, this was a true page-turner, especially in the last 1/3 of the book. You'll leave with a message that we all need to consider...
During Thanksgiving break 2002, I started reading the book again and couldn't believe I put it down a year earlier. The story of Hosanna (black Texan farm girl) and Gilda (Jewish Holocaust survivor) friendship/partnership is remarkable. The legacy that Hosanna passes on to her daughter regarding the betrayed friendship/partnership is even better. "What You Owe Me" displays how people can miss out on many of life's blessings when they are plagued by guilt or too determine to get revenge. This book is an emotional rollercoaster (tears, anger, laughter, heartbreak, insecurity, extreme confidence, etc.) I would love to see this book made into a movie!
Pay What You Owe!!!!!!!
Highly recommend it - worth a listen!