Praised as "exuberantly engaging" by the Los Angeles Times and a "beautiful, beautiful piece of writing" by the Houston Post, acclaimed artist Ntozake Shange brings to life the story of a young girl's awakening amidst her country's seismic growing pains. Set in St. Louis in 1957, the year of the Little Rock Nine, Shange's story reveals the prismatic effect of racism on an American child and her family. Seamlessly woven into this masterful portrait of an extended family is the story of Betsey's adolescence, the rush of first romance, and the sobering responsibilities of approaching adulthood.
This novel about a black family living in St. Louis in 1957 centers on Betsey, 13, who is restless, wants to "be somebody'' and is being bused to a white school. Her mother and grandmother oppose and her father supports integration. When the father plans to take Betsey and her siblings to demonstrate against a racist hotel, the mother leaves home. PW stated that ``by depicting and personalizing the racial tensions of the 1950s through the lives of appealing characters, Shange has produced a memorable, quietly powerful book.''