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Publisher's Summary

In the Technicolor glow of the early 70s, Jessica B. Harris debated, celebrated, and danced her way from the jazz clubs of the Manhattan's West Side to the restaurants of the Village, living out her buoyant youth alongside the great minds of the day - luminaries like Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison. My Soul Looks Back is her paean to that fascinating social circle and the depth of their shared commitment to activism, intellectual engagement, and each other.

Harris paints evocative portraits of her illustrious friends: Baldwin as he read aloud an early draft of If Beale Street Could Talk, Angelou cooking in her California kitchen, and Morrison relaxing at Baldwin's house in Provence. Harris describes her role as theater critic for the New York Amsterdam News and editor at then burgeoning Essence magazine; star-studded parties in the South of France; drinks at Mikell's, a hip West Side club; and the simple joy these extraordinary people took in each other's company. The book is framed by Harris' relationship with Sam Floyd, a fellow professor at Queens College, who introduced her to Baldwin. More than a memoir of friendship and first love, My Soul Looks Back is a carefully crafted, intimately understood homage to a bygone era and the people that made it so remarkable.

©2017 Jessica B. Harris (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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What listeners say about My Soul Looks Back

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Great read

Very well crafted memoir which in poignant ways underscores the reality that the choices one makes in ones twenties can lay the foundation for ones life. Ms. Harris's parents prepared her to embrace the world with an openness and confidence that serve her well. This is a wonderful story told with honesty and compassion. Her relationships with the gifted artists and writers of her time were amazing. Bravo!

3 people found this helpful

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Sam

I loved her voice. The name dropping was most of her story. Doesn't seem like a memoir. More like who I knew. To repetively speak of how long and well you know Sam but didn't know that one thing the story was purposefully trying to hold out like a mystery that was so evident was the first time I started to not care for her and the story. It lost credibility really quick after that. Then not to celebrate him the way you feel he deserved, so what did you do to make sure that didn't happen beforehand? Nothing.

2 people found this helpful

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Not what I thought

I was trying to listen to Black memoirs this year and ran across this book. I guess I didn’t understand what a memoir was because her story was more about the people she knew than herself.

2 people found this helpful

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Fantastic!

Very honest and real. Love the accompanying PDF. Can't wait to listen to the music and try the recipes.

1 person found this helpful

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Greyfox449

I enjoyed the book it’s all good stories of friends throughout the years lot at each other through the good and bad it brought back memories my family and the good times we should. And friends

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This look back was a great insight into a life

I stumbled on this book and am so delighted I did. The insights that she shares are profound. I’m off to find more of her books now.

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Jessica recounts the story of her most interesting

life. hers is a most interesting life filled with dizzying highs of her meeting, greeting, and befriended the most iconic figures in modern black literature. her intimate stories are woven together to form a quitted, textural tapestry of well lived life. I found myself at times jealous, awestruck, and humbled by her experiences. but most of all grateful for her sharing them

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Surprising

Loved it. I love hearing about the lives of the circle of friends. Its about a time long gone.

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Rewarding.

A gem! Thank you for sharing such a vivid memory of an important era.

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Phenomenal

Thank you Dr Harris for this wonderfully written memoir, as I listen to you read I could not resist leaning my head back, closing my eyes and visualizing the dinners and parties you so eloquently described. Thank you for the book and documentary “High on the Hog” for I have a new appreciation of food and the ancestors who created the recipes passed from generation to generation.
May God continue to Bless you and keep you.