Monday, May 31, 2010


If you were around during the 70's you saw at least one of the countless Blaxploitation movies starring Pam Grier. I remember seeing The Big Doll House. I could go into detail about her movies but that's not the original reason. Younger people may have seen her in Jackie Brown. Pam Grier is a very intelligent woman . From reading her book she seems like a soft, caring person very unlike some of the characters she played in her early film career. Though her family traveled a lot because of her father's military career, she calls Wyoming her home state. Wyoming is where her family is and where the family finally settled. She lives on a small ranch that she enjoys for the peace and tranquility. I think what I enjoyed most was her candidness and finding out that she is such a strong woman

Some of the highlights include:
*Her serious involvement with Kareem Abdul Jabar
*Loading Richard Pryor's sick horse into her Jaguar to take to the Vet
*Being gang-raped at six years old by her cousins
This book doesn't disappoint.

APPETITE AMERICA How Visionary Businessman Fred Harvey Built a Railroad Empire That Civilized the Wild West, Stephen Fried
I heard about this book while listening to NPR. The review was so interesting that I requested it at my local library. Fred Harvey was a British immigrant who made good in the restaurant business. He developed a chain of restaurants located close to railroad stations. These restaurants were unique in that they offered class, fresh vegetables and fruits in remote locations where this type of cuisine would not be expected. The book is very detailed recounting how Fred got his start, the tragedies and triumphs in his family. This author did a lot of research on his subject and I believe he included every little bit of it.
For those who enjoy biographies and rags-to-riches stories this book completes the formula.
I found the discussion on NPR more interesting than the book.

WENCH: A Novel, Dolen Perkins-Valdez
Same old, same old. Different place, different names, same story. Four slave masters take their favorite slave mistresses to Tawawa House, a resort in Ohio every summer. To some degree the wenches (slave women) get treated a little better than they would at the plantation. Each of these women uses this opportunity to better herself or her children. One wants her children fathered by her master to be set free and has ideas that he loves her and she him. Another plans to try to escape from her master.

The slaves have heard the rumor that if they can get past the river they will be in free territory. They also long to see the place where free Negroes have their own resort.

Although a work of fiction the story is based on the Tawawa resort that once existed in Xenia, Ohio. Part of its demise came about because of slave owners bringing their Black wenches and the distaste expressed by such from other white guests and their wives. The demise of the resort brought about the birth of a well known college which exists today.

No comments:

Post a Comment