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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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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.

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Loved every word.

I laughed and I cried. It was so beautifully romantic so utterly delicious. I’m partial because NYC is my home and Queens and Brooklyn the village all so familiar. Coupled with ban inside look at some of my favorite people in all their glory days. Breath taking

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More than just an audiobook

There is something mystical and down right spiritual about listening to Ms. Harris read her memoir. I savored every second of her story, and was sadden yet satisfied when I finished. This is something I will indubitably return to.

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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.

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My soul is pleased

This book was recommended by a dear friend who knows of my admiration for Baldwin and Angelou and Nina and the rest. I’m sure she didn’t know that I’d connect deeper with Jessica who, like me, I imagine upon finishing, feels she existed in the margins in most of it. Before reaching chapter 4, i’d recommended the book to 15 people. By the end of the book, 50 people. Just amazing! Thank you, Jessica. -Darnell Lamont Walker