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Diligent churchgoer Nan comes to terms as she contends with a thirtysomething granddaughter still looking for her runaway mom. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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McKinney-Whetstone weaves an intricate tapestry of love, pain and memory in her latest. Neena spends most of her adult life trying to track down her unstable, long-disappeared mother, Freeda, and funds her quest by blackmailing the married men she sleeps with. When a scam backfires in Chicago and Neena has to run for her life, she flees to hometown Philadelphia and discovers her sister, Tish, is in the hospital with a protracted pregnancy. Neena, not ready to face her grandmother Nan's rules and church-going ways, finds a flop and tries to keep her scam game going while revisiting the myriad disappointments and hurts caused by her mother's mental illness. But things get complicated when she meets Cliff, her latest mark. Meanwhile, Neena's friendship with street musician Bow Peep offers a chance at redemption, and Nan worries over her grandchildren and thinks back on Freeda's unstable father. Philly is as much a character as the women, and if all the picking at old wounds grows tiresome and predictable, Neena's dire straits are nicely handled and provide a pretty sharp hook. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Talented African American author McKinney-Whetstone returns after an absence of four years (Leaving Cecil Street, 2004) with another poignant, multigenerational story set in west Philadelphia. Thirty-six-year-old Neena has spent most of her adult years obsessively searching for her mentally ill mother, who abandoned Neena and her sister, Tish, when they were children. But Neena has run out of options. She has been financing her cross-country travels by engaging in affairs with married men and then blackmailing them, but her latest target not only refused to pay but also locked her out of her condo and cancelled her credit cards. Broke and exhausted, she returns to her hometown but learns that her sister has been hospitalized due to a problem with her pregnancy. She finds herself unable to face her strict, religious grandmother, Nan, who raised her. But over the following weeks, she finds comfort in the music of a mystical street musician and begins to seriously assess the cut-and-run pattern that has defined her life. An achingly tender portrait of familial love and pain.--Wilkinson, Joanne Copyright 2008 Booklist