TITLE: Queen Sugar
AUTHOR: Natalie Baszile
PUBLISHER: Thorndike Press
PUBLISHED DATE: May 21, 2014
I read this book in anticipation of Oprah and Ava Duvernay's highly anticipated 13 episode television series that will debut on September 6 on the OWN network. I absolutely see why these two strong black women wanted to create a show based on this work, and I am more excited than ever to see these characters brought to the small screen. This book was beautiful, amazing, compelling....I felt all the feelings with this one. I think I'm just going have to put this book on my required reading list.
Charley Bordelon is living life on the margins. Frustrated with her job, never having owned a home of her own - she sees an inheritance from her father as a chance to start a new life. Charley learns that her inheritance isn't quite what she thought it would be. Instead of an array of buildings spread throughout Los Angeles, Charley learns that she's inherited a sugar cane farm in Louisiana - a place and a way of life she knows nothing about. When Charley arrives with her 11 year old daughter, Micah, she learns that she has an uphill battle to conquer - to make it, she'll have to beat the odds. In addition to navigating hostile waters, she'll have to confront the resentment of her disinherited brother, Ralph Angel. This story is full of raw wisdom - at it's core it's a simple story of working hard and treating people well. But it's compelling because you don't know what's going to happen. Baszile's writing makes this simmering story complex in it's simplicity. This was a gem, definitely a book that spoke to my heart.
This story is told through the straight forwardness of a third person narrator - that gives us reliable information about the motives and histories of each character. I also listened to this book on Audible.com, and the narrator - Miriam Hyman - did a magnificent job bringing this story to life.