Saturday, July 25, 2009

Where Did You Sleep Last Night?

Danzy Senna’s latest work, Where Did You Sleep Last Night?, ratchets up the need for more memoirs by African Americans, people of color, and biracial Americans. As she notes, her mother’s WASP side of the family fill library shelves with their reminiscences, histories, poetry, and learned opinions, but her father’s mother doesn’t even have a complete birth certificate to document her parentage! Even her father’s parentage is open to speculation until DNA and further government immigrant documentation confirm the identity of his father. Certainly anyone who has been adopted can appreciate the difficulties of surmounting bureaucracies, but this story goes further into the secrets and lies that await any family genealogist. At the same time, the search for family history on the Senna side reveals the warmth and cohesiveness of the Southern African American community and extended family. Getting past Senna’s obvious trauma from her parents’ rocky marriage and divorce, one finds the treasured nugget of family love in the center of the story.

Check Old Colony Library Network for availability of this title:

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