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About the book
Not yet a woman yet more than a little girl, Rae Dodson is caught up in her family's drama. Her hip older sister, Kimmie, whom her mother favors, has moved from New Orleans to join them in Detroit, a city that moves as if in synch with the Stevie Wonder tunes that play giddily from new automobiles fresh off the factory lots. Her bid whist–playing mother is as nervous as ever, and her father's chronic migraines seem less responsive to medication. And while they all occupy the same house, they might as well be living separate lives. When the tenuous peace finally breaks, Rae must decide where her loyalties lie: should she choose her emotionally distant mother, whom she adores, or her affectionate but needy father? Rae does choose and launches into a rich, loving relationship with her dad, for whom she shows a fierce, undying loyalty. But as she matures, she must find a way amid her own budding sexuality to be both Daddy's girl and her own woman.
In her strong debut, indie film director Davis (1996's Naked Acts) deconstructs the daddy's girl myth by viewing it from a fresh African-American perspective. Set in Detroit between 1967 and 1980, this lively coming-of-age tale rocks with the sounds of Stevie Wonder, whose own mother serves as one of the card-playing supporting characters. Rae Dodson has no regrets about sleeping on the back of her slowly dying father, JD, a General Motors assembly-line worker suffering from hypertension and granted disability at age 36, until she's forced, at age nine, to sleep in her own bedroom ("I formed myself out of the five o'clock shadow of his maleness"). The reader braces for the worst, but Davis opts for the high road as she explores the father and daughter's almost symbiotic relationship, contrasting it with the distant one Rae has with her troubled mother, Vy. Meanwhile, Vy waits for Cyril, her lover and the father of Rae's older sister Kimmie, to rescue her from a marriage marred by JD's infidelity. Heartbreak and sudden tragedy compel the appealing Rae to grow up on the fast track. Davis doesn't miss a beat in this moving study of dysfunctional families and the power of transcendent love. Apt driving manual excerpts head each section, while a wonderfully done twist ending strikes a final ironic note. Two thumbs up, and skip the speed bumps at your own risk. Agent, Dawn Davis. 5-city author tour. (May 1) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved