Her words glide off the pages and into your mind creating images that pull your imagination in new and diverse directions.
Bernice McFadden is a black author who has released three novels since 2000. She has yet to reach the New York Times Bestseller list, but she is more than worthy. She’s in a league with Toni Morrison and Alice Walker.
Her first novel, “Sugar”, is the story of a new woman in town. However, this woman is not like any women the town of Bigelow, Ark., has ever seen.
Set in the 1950s, Sugar’s blonde and red wigs are outrageous and offensive to her new neighbors. Her occupation is unacceptable.
“You got the whore of Babylon right next door,” said one of the women to Sugar’s neighbor.
The conflict between Sugar and the town of Bigelow is just the surface of this multi-layered story.
McFadden takes you on a journey through love, loss and discovery.
Her characters are dynamic and well developed. The reader can relate to each distinct personality.
In her second novel “The Warmest December,” McFadden’s characters remain dynamic. She also maintains the detail and vivid imagery of “Sugar.”
The very first words of the novel lure the reader in, while the rest of the words hold the reader hostage.
“Now and then I forget things, small things that would not otherwise alter my life. Things like milk in my coffee, setting my alarm clock, or Oprah at four. Tiny things. One day last week I forgot that I hated my father….”
Who could put the book down after reading that?
The novel goes on to detail a story of anguish, abuse and ultimately of healing.
Kenzie, the main character, relives years of abuse dealt to her and her family by her father Hy-lo.
Hy-lo rests on his death bed in a coma as Kenzie visits his bedside in an attempt to come to terms with the effects of his abuse.
McFadden’s descriptions are so vivid, it’s hard to believe she imagined it all.
Unlike many other popular black authors, her stories explore more than sex, scandal and bad relationships.
Her name will be added to the list of our cultures great writers along with Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, Alice Walker and Toni Morrison.
McFadden has the ability to make the reader sympathize, hate, love, rejoice and sob – in one novel.
Her third novel “This Bitter Earth,” the sequel to “Sugar,” is available now in hard cover. Her fourth novel “Loving Donovan” will be released in January of 2003.
According to her Web site, bernicemcfadden.com, it explores “hope, forgiveness and the cost of loving Donovan.”
This 35-year-old Brooklyn native is walking in the footsteps of her favorite author, Alice Walker. And will soon gain as much notoriety and fame.