Coffee Will Make You Black COFFEE WILL MAKE YOU BLACK April Sinclair (Hyperion, $19.95) "Madame Walker inventing the straightening comb was the best thing that happened to the Negro next… Coffee Will Make You Black COFFEE WILL MAKE YOU BLACK April Sinclair (Hyperion, $19.95) "Madame Walker inventing the straightening comb was the best thing that happened to the Negro next… Fiction
Book Review

COFFEE WILL MAKE YOU BLACK

EW's GRADE
B+

Details Writer: April Sinclair; Genre: Fiction

COFFEE WILL MAKE YOU BLACK April Sinclair (Hyperion, $19.95) ''Madame Walker inventing the straightening comb was the best thing that happened to the Negro next to Emancipation.'' ''White people are like actors, they don't feel things the way we do.'' Stevie, the smart, adventurous heroine of Sinclair's funny, fresh first novel about growing up African-American in 1960s Chicago, picks her way through minefields of advice from her mother's generation while searching for a place in her own. She outgrows an early obsession with good hair and the right skin color (fudge? Cracker Jack? pecan? paper bag?) to discover politics and self-respect after Martin Luther King is murdered. Sinclair writes like Terry McMillan's kid sister, in earthy, slangy dialogue peppered with down-home expressions. A girl is as ugly as ''homemade sin.'' Winter weather is ''stomp-down cold.'' She has a knack for framing heavy questions in quick, easy, upbeat vignettes that make the '60s sound like the good old days. B+ -Suzanne Ruta

Originally posted Mar 04, 1994 Published in issue #212 Mar 04, 1994 Order article reprints
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