Cover image for
Title:
Things I should have told my daughter : lies, lessons & love affairs
Author(s):
Cleage, Pearl.
ISBN/ISSN:
1451664699
Personal Author:
Edition:
First Atria Books hardcover edition.
Physical Description:
ix, 308 pages ; 24 cm
Abstract:
"In this inspiring memoir, the award-winning playwright and bestselling author of What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day reminisces on the art of juggling marriage, motherhood, and politics while working to become a successful writer. In addition to being one of the most popular living playwrights in America, Pearl Cleage is a bestselling author with an Oprah Book Club pick and multiple awards to her credit. But there was a time when such stellar success seemed like a dream. In this revelatory and deeply personal work, Cleage takes readers back to the 1970s and '80s, retracing her struggles to hone her craft amidst personal and professional tumult. Though born and raised in Detroit, it was in Atlanta that Cleage encountered the forces that would most shape her experience. Married to Michael Lomax, now head of the United Negro College Fund, she worked with Maynard Jackson, Atlanta's first African-American mayor. Lies, Lessons & Love Affairs charts not only the political fights, but also the pull she began to feel to focus on her own passions, including writing--a pull that led her away from Lomax as she grappled with ideas of feminism and self-fulfillment. This fascinating memoir follows her journey from a columnist for a local weekly (bought by Larry Flynt) to a playwright and Hollywood script writer, an artist at the crossroads of culture and politics whose circle came to include luminaries like Richard Pryor, Avery Brooks, Phylicia Rashad, Shirley Franklin, and Jesse Jackson. By the time Oprah Winfrey picked What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day as a favorite, Cleage had long since arrived as a writer of renown. In the tradition of greats like Susan Sontag, Joan Didion, and Nora Ephron, Cleage's self-portrait raises women's confessional writing to the level of great literature"-- Provided by publisher.

"An inspiring and revelatory memoir of juggling marriage, motherhood and politics as she worked to become a successful writer and self-fulfilled woman"-- Provided by publisher.
Bibliography Note:
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Personal Subject:
Pub Date:
Atria Books, 2014.
Holds:

Available:*

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Henington-Alief - Houston Public Library Adult Biography Book B C623
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Henington-Alief - Houston Public Library Adult Biography Book B C623
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Hillendahl - Houston Public Library Adult Biography Book B C623
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Johnson - Houston Public Library Adult Biography Book B C623
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Kendall Library and Drive-up -- Houston Public Library Adult Biography Book B C623
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Mancuso - Houston Public Library Adult Biography Book B C623
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Meyer - Houston Public Library Adult Biography Book B C623
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Park Place - Houston Public Library Adult Biography Book B C623
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Ring - Houston Public Library Adult Biography Book B C623
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Smith - Houston Public Library Adult Biography Book B C623
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Stanaker - Houston Public Library Adult Biography Book B C623
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Walter - Houston Public Library Adult Biography Book B C623
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Looscan - Houston Public Library Adult Biography Book B C623
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Looscan - Houston Public Library Adult Biography Book B C623
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Looscan - Houston Public Library Adult Biography Book B C623
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Moody - Houston Public Library Adult Biography Book B C623
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Collier - Houston Public Library Adult Biography Book B C623
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Lakewood - Houston Public Library Adult Biography Book B C623
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Frank - Houston Public Library Adult Biography Book B C623
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Freed-Montrose -- Houston Public Library Adult Biography Book B C623
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Jungman - Houston Public Library Adult Biography Book B C623
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Heights - Houston Public Library Adult Biography Book B C623
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Flores - Houston Public Library Adult Biography Book B C623
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Summary

Summary

In this inspiring memoir, the award-winning playwright and bestselling author of What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day reminisces on the art of juggling marriage, motherhood, and politics while working to become a successful writer.

In addition to being one of the most popular living playwrights in America, Pearl Cleage is a bestselling author with an Oprah Book Club pick and multiple awards to her credit, but there was a time when such stellar success seemed like a dream. In this revelatory and deeply personal work, Cleage takes readers back to the 1970s and '80s, retracing her struggles to hone her craft amid personal and professional tumult.

Though born and raised in Detroit, it was in Atlanta that Cleage encountered the forces that would most shape her experience. At the time, married to Michael Lomax, now head of the United Negro College Fund, she worked with Maynard Jackson, Atlanta's first African-American mayor. Things I Should Have Told My Daughter charts not only the political fights but also the pull she began to feel on her own passions--a pull that led her away from Lomax as she grappled with ideas of feminism and self-fulfillment. This fascinating memoir follows her journey from a columnist for a local weekly to a playwright and Hollywood scriptwriter whose circle came to include luminaries Richard Pryor, Avery Brooks, Phylicia Rashad, Shirley Franklin, and Jesse Jackson.

In the tradition of giants such as Susan Sontag, Joan Didion, Nora Ephron, and Maya Angelou, Cleage's self-portrait raises women's confessional writing to the level of fine literature.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Cleage's daughter has never wanted to read her mother's diaries, and after she vetoes Cleage's plan to leave them to her granddaughter, Cleage revisits her lifelong journal to understand why it matters so much to her. The result is this representative sample covering the 1970s and the 1980s, when Cleage was in her twenties and thirties and living in Atlanta. Now a celebrated playwright, screenwriter, and best-selling, Oprah-pick novelist (Till You Hear from Me, 2010), Cleage provides no context for her razor-edge journal entries. Instead, the reader leaps into a tempestuous, in-progress chronicle in which Cleage tells herself, Best grab your own life and run with it. Cleage struggles with complicated questions about race and gender that remain urgent and complex today. She writes about concerts (Bruce Springsteen, Grace Jones), movies (Saturday Night Fever), and books (Betty Friedan, Judy Chicago, Henry Miller, Alice Walker). She parses her stressful work as press secretary for Atlanta's first black mayor, Maynard Jackson, and enjoys the demands of writing a newspaper column. She keeps track of the news, pens vivid street scenes, revels in becoming a mother, smokes pot, gets divorced, takes lovers, performs poetry, travels, worries, and vows TO BE VERY BOLD. Cleage's extraordinary experiences, deep social concerns, passionate self-analysis, and personal and artistic liberation, all so openly confided, make for a highly charged, redefining read.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2014 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

A sampling of playwright and novelist Cleage's (What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day) journal entries over 20 years, from 1970 to 1990, as a young journalist, feminist, Civil Rights activist, wife, and mother delineates a long, difficult journey toward self-realization. A student at Spellman College in Atlanta, involved in SNCC meetings and civil rights organizations with her politician husband-to-be. Michael Lomax, Cleage embarked on her journal as race relations were splitting apart the country. Yearning to be a writer, chafing at the constraints of having to ply her way as a journalist, and resentful of the chauvinistic attitudes of men (reading The Feminist Mystique she recognized that, in terms of hiding real issues, "Men have done almost as good a job as white folks"), Cleage tried overall to be true to the ideals she envisioned for herself in her youth. She worked for the election of Maynard Jackson, the first African-American mayor of Atlanta; then got pregnant by the beginning of 1974, prompting many months of fretting about motherhood. Between Maynard's and her husband's campaigns, Cleage began to write in earnest in the late 1970s, often working as an itinerant screenwriter, recording her literary findings, and grappling constantly with how to be a sexual being in a committed relationship-thorny questions that led her to leave her marriage and embark on a series of affairs with married men in the 1980s. By turns frank, and wide-eyed, Cleage's entries reflect a fulsome, tender spirit, hungry for authentic experience, eager for love. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Writing is what Cleage, an acclaimed poet (We Don't Need No Music), essayist (Deals with the Devil: And Other Reasons To Riot), novelist (What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day), and award-winning playwright (Flyin' West) does. Here, her journals are the source of a revealing, intimate memoir. With over 50 years of notebooks stashed in cardboard boxes and a steamer trunk, -Cleage contemplates their value. Her daughter suggests burning the journals, but Cleage resists; this historical record allows her to remember details and understand how she survived and succeeded. She shares entries from 1970 to 1988 in this volume describing her "mad flight toward financial independence, sexual liberation, creative fulfillment and free womanhood." VERDICT -Cleage's observations explode with joy, anxiety, anger, and, of course, honesty; her style is breezy and casual but the content is complex. Her fans will embrace this work, and all readers interested in women's memoirs, especially those focused on the struggle against racism and sexism, will be moved by this title. [See Prepub Alert, 10/28/13.]-Kathryn Bartelt, Univ. of Evansville Libs., IN (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


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