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  WEEPING WILLOWS DANCE

Gloria Mallette

$15.00 Paperback / 320 pages

ISBN 096787918

Gemini Press / 2001

Fiction / African-American Fiction

 

Gloria Mallette’s realistic novel presents the story of Mozelle, a spirited young woman who overcame extreme poverty and a bad marriage to raise a thriving family. At age fifteen Mozelle was still very much a tomboy through and through. Mozelle at that age was already fully aware that she did not want to grow up to be like her mother. She completely rejected marriage as being totally unacceptable for her, and she was considering having no children whatsoever, very much against the family norm—

twelve children had been something of an average in her family. Her goal in life was to get a good job, buy herself a car, and travel across country, an independent and carefree woman with no children hanging onto her shirttail.

Fate however had other plans for her. When dark, handsome Randell Tate, twenty-two years her senior, showed up in church on a fateful Sunday morning and winked at her, he threw Mozelle’s world off-balance. A stormy love affair and three months later there is an official wedding. Randell carried Mozelle across the threshold and into the world of the Great Depression. Much as she had not planned, her children were born and, against all odds, Mozelle—a mother now—set her sights on buying a piece of land and building a house to put a roof over their heads.

Gloria Mallette masterfully takes the reader along as Mozelle struggles to rise above a bad marriage and excruciating poverty—a resilient and determined black woman in a long line of strong African American women characters in contemporary African American fiction. Blessed with this traditional resilience and determination that black women have abundantly shown for centuries, Mozelle "stands her ground and sways with the breeze of disappointment and the winds of deprivation." Her moral fortitude and her unshakeable faith in God, "like the supple branches of the weeping willow tree are strong and unbreakable."

Mozelle represents an existing life model for every woman, African-American and otherwise, who rather than submit and give up, squares her shoulders and vows to overcome, taking the blows of fate with patience and wisdom, thereby proving to the world that "weeping willows dance." Gloria Mallette’s narrative art infused with a high moral sensitivity provides us with an unforgettable instance of such an archetypal black woman, one who takes charge of her life and of her family and succeeds against all odds without losing her gentleness and integrity. Like the weeping willow, the central symbol of the novel, we know that "…with spring comes rebirth and another chance to go after what we want most. We set our sights and sway like the weeping willow tree on a breezy day, standing our ground against all obstacles that come our way, always proving that we’re strong and will let nothing or no one keep us from our goal. The Lord never promised us an easy life, he only promised us a life…" What we make of it is up to us. BBN

 
 

 

 

 

 

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