May 29, 2024

Homemade Love

"Why should I take your problems and ain't had none of your fun gettin em?!" ~ pg .80

First published in 1986, Homemade Love rightfully earned the American Book Award for short story collection. J. California Cooper explores the nuances of love—romantic, friendship or familial—in thirteen (13) short stories. As usual when I read short stories or poems, there are a handful that stand out as extraordinary. My favorites in this collection are Swimming to the Top of the Rain, When Life Begins!, and At Long Last.

Homemade Love is written in a literary folk tradition similar to Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes. It belongs in the Harlem Renaissance Era. Vivid pictures of Black characters leap from the pages. There's the busiest, talkinest child, a woman who holds up the community, a neighborhood watcher, fools and those simply surviving life.

"This story is shaped like a Y. Two paths lead to one road. I got to tell you two things, or stories, before I get to the main road where it all comes together!" ~ pg .57

Every short story has its own voice yet Cooper's characters remind me of that matriarch in every Black family. I zipped through these thirteen short stories in just one day. It was like sitting between the legs of great grandma while she's braiding cornrows into hair, sipping freshly made lemonade mixed with sweet cane sugar tea, listening to her gossip about the neighbors while looking out the big front window. We can all relate!

Readers will finish Homemade Love and know the different kinds and levels of love that affect us. The stories may be short and separate but oh, it will all come together! You will feel urged to hug on your friends, families and lovers.

Happy Early Re-Pub Day to the still celebrated J. California Cooper! Homemade Love will be available on August 27.

Disclaimer: An advance copy was received directly from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own and would be the same if I spent my hard-earned coins. ~LiteraryMarie

Title: Homemade Love
Author: J. California Cooper
Re-Published: August 2024
Pages: 146
Edition: Galley
Genre: Black Lit 
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

No comments:

Post a Comment