Eleven-year-old Delphine and her younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern, travel to Oakland to meet their mother, Cecil, who abandoned their family years earlier. But even when Cecil gets them to her house, she shows no interest and seems to view them as nothing but a nuisance.
Cecil’s cold, unloving attitude leaves the girls wishing for the mother-daughter connection they’ve never had. But Cecil acts remarkably different after she sees her daughters at the Black Panther rally, where they recite a poem Cecil herself had written. At that point, Cecil’s attitude toward her daughters begins a remarkable change.
©2010 Rita Williams-Garcia (P)2010 Recorded Books, LLC
“With memorable characters … and a powerful story, this is a book well worth reading and rereading." (School Library Journal)
This is the best story/characters/YA that I have ever heard on Audible. Hands down. No question. If you have any interest in MG fiction or recent history or crazy awesomeness, you should hear this story Right. Now.
Excellent – I enjoyed this book, good historical fiction – It brought back memories of 70’s – weaving facts about the Black Panther Party and human drama –through the eyes of a 11 year-old girl.
An enlightened ascetic who loves language and learning.
The complexities of the conflict between cultural conformity and individual expression, between ideological assimilation and existential authenticity, between familial loyalty and social commitment and between accommodationist/integrationist agendas and militancy as means of advancing the interests of the collective African American community are clearly and cogently captured in the brilliant book by Rita Williams-Garcia, “One Crazy Summer”. Especially salient is the symbolic significance (or ostensible insignificance) of names in the unique cultural context of the African Diaspora, the descendants of slaves in the Western World. Africans are certainly not unique in according appreciable meaning to names (though among the ancient Egyptians an entire aspect of the individual’s identity was conceived as being embodied in one’s “ren” or name). What makes the ‘Diasporic Dilemma’ unique is the almost entire obliteration of linguistic linkages to the specific language groups and families from which a coherent culture commonly derives its numerous names and its psychosocial sense of identity. Because Diasporan Africans are debarred from basing their names on known tribal or national affiliations, there exists a considerable cultural disconnection from our continental countries of origin. Concomitant with this disconnection is the lamentable legacy of the African Holocaust. The institution of slavery not only severed families and purposely deprived an entire people of its dignity, it added to this indecency the odium of affixing to Negro “property” the names of its oppressors, of its owners. Certainly there has been a rich tradition of rebellion against this particularly repugnant legacy of slavery, with African Americans and other Diasporan Blacks scornfully rejecting the “slave names” of their birth and adopting appellations identifying them as unambiguously African in origin and outlook. Analogously, there is a rich tradition that the Author only recently recognized (prompted particularly by reading this book) as entailing individualistic rebellion against Eurocentric influences on the names of Africans. That is, Blacks are fond of fabricating names expressly or unconsciously intended to be entirely unique phonologically and/or morphologically with little or no notion of lexicology, semiology or meaning. It is easy for an educated, assumedly informed, Africentric Diasporan of the 21st century to regard this practice as puerile, as exhibiting extreme cultural ignorance or indifference. Whatever truth there is in such a sentiment, it obscures an important existential observation. To a people whose collective identity has been decidedly damaged, individual identity assumes increased importance and the expression of that importance is often exhibited in the uniqueness of the name. Thus there is a serious, substantive psychological dimension to what may seem semantically absurd and superficial. This speculative notion of nomenclature is merely one aspect of the richly complex narrative that is “One Crazy Summer”, but it is one that has heretofore been inadequately expressed in (African) American literature. Rita’s work has rectified this representational dearth in a creative, compelling manner.
Dr. Nun Sava-Siva Amen-Ra, ‘Negro Nomenclaturist’
Damascus, Maryland USA
It is amazing how the author was able to write about a mean mother and hanging out with Panthers light and enjoyable for a child.
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