Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Friends by Rosa Guy

Originally uploaded by barbfecteau.
One of the things I loved about this book is that the back covers makes it seems interesting without giving hardly anything away. You keep getting hit on the head with surprises. I will try not to give anything away here that you don't get from the first chapter. But there is a ton of story that is not even hinted at!

Here are some things you need to know:

1. Phyllisia's last name is Cathy. So when her Dad (who is an enormous jerk) starts yelling about being a Cathy - he is not trying to tell the world that he is a woman. He is just bragging.

2. Edith is really really poor. You are not going to believe how poor.

3. Phyllisia's family has plenty of money. I was picturing them as being from nearly the same neighborhood. (They live in Harlem.) But the Cathys and the Jacksons are as far apart as can be.

4. The slang in this book is hilarious. It was first published in 1973 when I was a mere child and it sounds really dated. Here are my favorite examples with definitions.
boss - (as in "That's a really boss dress!") cool or desirable
gone sister - (as in "You have a really gone sister!") a cool or desirable sibling
dig her the most - (as in "I dig her the most!") I think she is the most cool or desirable.
cop-out - (as in "That ain't no cop-out!) a failure to fulfill a commitment or responsibility or to face a difficulty squarely (That's from answers.com, if you're curious. Its a great place to get definitions, just google the word you want along with the word "definition" and it comes right up.)

There are some sentences that just make me giggle like a loon and I am sure you will see why.

Hey baby, you sure are a fine chick! (Yep, that one always works on me.)
You look bad, really gone! (Remember this is the seventies when this was a compliment.)
and finally -
"My mother thinks he's the most!" (The most what? The most likely to put the moves on your best friend, if this book is any indication.)

One of the reasons I liked "The Friends" so much is because Phyllisia isn't really nice. She is kind of snobby and a little whiny and she has a lot of reasons right from the beginning for being this way. But she doesn't fool herself. She knows how she should act, even if she doesn't always do it. She feels like a real person who makes both good and bad decisions.

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