~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~We’ve already considered this plot in our books and movies: What is it like to be a black person in a white world? And we’ve considered this, too: What is it like to be a white person in a black world? But what about this: What is it like to be a biracial person in a world that is almost always black or white and nothing in between? Karen DeGroot Carter addresses this idea in her melodic novel, One Sister’s Song, published by Pearl Street Publishing (which uses Print-on-demand for its production model.) Actually, this book touches on (and deals effectively with) many issues besides race (family issues, grief, love—among others) but never before have I read a novel that captures the essence of the shifting nature of racial identity. Song tells the story of Audrey Conarroe (who is biracial) who is forced to move back to her hometown—a white, tight-knit town in western New York—when she becomes the guardian of her nephew. Here she experiences a chain of events that makes her question who she is—and what is of real importance in life. Stop yawning.
As light as this may sound, you should know the novel is deep on many levels (not heavy deep, but makes you think about things the way you did when you read The Lovely Bones—if you finished it, I mean.) This is literature—and a book that will leave you thinking.
This novel is wonderfully written and edited to the core—seriously. I found it a relaxing and delightful read—and refreshing from style to plot points. And at $18 (at Amazon) it’s cheaper than a DVD and you’ll get more entertainment out of it.
And trust me that it will make a sweet holiday gift.
Carter’s One Sister’s Song is a clear-headed, multi-sided look at a complex situation that hasn’t found resolution in hundreds of years of history. What world(s) do people live in when they come from more than one racial or ethnic background? Who wants them? Who claims them? Where do they want to be? How do they choose?
Carter, who knows some of these issues first-hand, is sensitive to the fact that everyone involved in an interracial situation has their own image of how things are and how they should be. She also knows that lives are lived on private terms, sometimes raggedly, sometimes nobly. Her characters are not socio-political representations, but they are real people, right down to their inconsistent and sometimes bumbling ways.
Audrey acts impulsively; Julian zooms from gloom to exuberance and back again. Boyfriends past and present act like clods; some people are just unthinking. Some are just plain mean. Behind it all hovers the spirit of Audrey’s sister Laura and the way she viewed the world. Audrey’s coming to grips with this, finding her own way, is the heart of the story.
Refreshing, engaging, thought-provoking, and real. One Sister’s Song is all of these.
“…a love story and a lesson in history and sociology all tied up in one work, [One Sister’s Song] explores family dynamics, racial identity, and the struggles of a single woman facing unexpected changes.
“…a well-written and smooth-flowing story [that] holds the reader’s interest throughout.”
“The pain, the growth, the lessons that come with interracial exchange take us deep into a world that many would like to reject and erase. In One Sister’s Song, we understand that love has no limits and things such as race become unimportant when the heart leads. This book is a melodic read packed with intense human interaction, love, understanding and real lessons.
“…a deliciously perfect escape.”
Honorable Mention of a Denver Writer
“The Urban Spectrum gives Karen DeGroot Carter an Honorable Mention for her book One Sister’s Song (Pearl Street Publishing) which addresses the issue of bi-racial love and facilitates cultural healing. Carter’s work reaches out to communities of color in a fashion that supports continued understanding and respect of diversity across barriers of culture, race, and gender.”
Note from a Local Book Club
“One Sister’s Song” is a thought-provoking novel that addresses issues such as race relations and single parenting– issues all too common in today’s society. Karen did a wonderful job developing the characters and the story flowed smoothly. We finished the book not only feeling entertained, but also feeling that we’d learned something. Words our group used to describe the book include delightful, impressive, and engaging.
Karen’s visit with our group was even more enjoyable than the book. One of our members summarized it perfectly when she said, “Sitting down and talking with the author of a book is truly priceless. Isn’t this what every reader would love to do? Karen brought a completely unique experience to our book club, one that we will always treasure.”