“Silver Sparrow” by Tayari Jones October 18, 2012

A man has two families in the same town. One know about the other; the other doesn’t. Which family does the man love most? The family to whom he confides everything, thus hurting it in the process? Or the family to whom he tells nothing, allowing it to live in ignorant normality, but always with the possibility of a terrible surprise.

Tayari Jones, author of the novels “Leaving Atalnta” and the “Untelling” has chosen an unusual structure to reveal her story of two African-American teenage girls sharing the same father in the same Georgia town. Dana Yarboro knows the truth and feels she is a secret. Chaurisse Witherspoon, who spends a lot of time in her mother’s beauty parlor believes she has a normal family, While other writers might have chosen a back and forth narrative- first Dana, then Chaurisse then Dana ect- Jones gives us almost Dana’s story in part one, then all of Chaurisse’s in part two. The effect is subtly devasting when Dana begins to intrude upon Chaurisse’s narrative, deepening the reader’s interest; we understand it’s just a matter of time before the unknown becomes the known.

Hello IYBC,

This is novel that is a reality in many families. This is not a surprise, it is sad that we are in an awe” about the subject matter, because this is a “norm” in a world of dysfunction. I look forward to understanding how James Witherspoon became a bigamist. I wonder why would a woman agree to this arrangement?

IYBC I am curious to know if the era they were living in at this time is a factor?

Show we be slow to judge the characters, maybe this is best they could do with their “lesser evils”

I look forward to your thoughts and comments.


About chocolateamethyst

" Mother Teresa didn't walk around complaining about her thighs she had love to give"
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4 Responses to “Silver Sparrow” by Tayari Jones October 18, 2012

  1. chocolateamethyst says:

    Hello IYBC,

    What would you do if you were James Witherspoon? Did he have other options? Maybe he is just selfish and greedy with his emotions? James has the best of both worlds, why would he complain?

    Does James have a unrealistic view of himself and reality?

    Ladies what would you do if your were his wife or girfriend?

  2. Chocolateamethyst, If I was James Witherspoon, I would do exactly as he is doing. I would have my cake and eat it too. Why not? What man in his situation would change that as long as he can get away with it and there are no consequences for his actions.

    There is always other options, but maybe he did not want to even consider what the consequences would be had he chosen to “Man up” to his actions.

    I don’t know what other ladies would do and I have never been in this situation but I can tell you that I would be his EX-wife or EX-girlfriend.

    I just don’t understand what makes women feel the need to just have a man regardless of how they treat you or if they are in another relationship.

    The following phrases just don’t make any sense to me:
    1. Having a piece of Man is better than having no man at all………….”You can have the piece then”
    2. As long as he come home everynight…………..”Ok, STD’s and all”
    3. She can have the penis as long as I get the money……..”You gonna need it to cure whatever”
    4. As long as I’m the first, she can have the left over’s……”What the hell!”
    5. We can share him cause I know he loves me more………”Blah, Blah, Blah, explain that to me”

    Fool me once shame on you, Fool me twice shame on me!

    • chocolateamethyst says:


      What about James taking some responsibility for his choices, there are no signs of rape and duress. I do agree James should “man up” so far he is just pathetic, let’s hope he matures as the story moves forward. But just to be fair with to James he really was just having a affair on the side, his girlfreind gets pregnant, even though “what starts wrong ends wrong” don’t you think he was trying to do the “right thing” for all the wrong reasons? I agree he is selfish, but I will give him a “crumb” for effort.

      • chocolateamethyst says:

        I would also like to add he is only a “bigamist” because his girfriend agreed to it, and who knows his wife is probably in denial. James was also raised by a woman, so we don’t know what standards she “reared” him under? James has to be exhausted, I mean really remember that song by the late Tyrone Davis “Trying To Love Two Ain’t Easy To Do”

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