"Coffee Will Make You Black" by April Sinclair


TITLE: Coffee Will Make You Black

AUTHOR: April Sinclair

PUBLISHER: Turtleback Books

PUBLISHED DATE: January 27, 1994

ISBN: 978-0380724598

PAGES: 239

This book has been on my "To Read" list for forever. So when I saw it at a discounted price on Audible, I swiftly bought it.

Groundbreaking for its time, Coffee Will Make You Black the coming of age story about a young black girl growing up in the 1960's when battling the ignorance of racism at the hands of whites was not the only battle for a young woman of color. Prejudices that exist in the African American community are confronted head on: colorism, negative attitudes towards LGBTQ community, hypocritcal Christian views and practices, and a whole host of things.

Stevie is a sweet innocent girl from Chicago's South Side. She comes from a working class family - her father is a hospital janitor and her mother is a bank teller. Stevie's mother is a bigot. She doesn't like darker complexions or textured hair. She doesn't like "bulldaggers" or "queers". She doesn't like Stevie's natural hair, choice of friends, and Stevie often finds herself in moral dilemma's as she befriends a group of mean popular girls, and tries to put away, what her mother would call "unnatural thoughts" by getting a boyfriend. Stevie's grandmother tells her that blacks and whites can't be friends, her mother tells her not to associate with other blacks who are too dark, and her promiscuous friend Carla wants her to touch boys "thangs" and like it. But none of these beliefs are Stevie's beliefs. Stevie really starts to question everything when she gets a white teacher who makes her heart skip a beat and her breath quicken.

The book was a bit after school special for me....but like I said - this book was groundbreaking for its time, and had a message that encouraged young black women to be themselves, love themselves, and not to cave in to stereotypes. I can get behind that message all day.

Recommendation: Read it.

Audience: Young Adults

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