Published: May 8, 2012 [Paperback]
Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Format: purchased copy
With the opening line of "Silver Sparrow," "My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist," author Tayari Jones unveils a breathtaking story about a man's deception, a family's complicity, and the two teenage girls caught in the middle. Set in a middle-class neighborhood in Atlanta in the 1980s, the novel revolves around James Witherspoon's two families--the public one and the secret one. When the daughters from each family meet and form a friendship, only one of them knows they are sisters. It is a relationship destined to explode.
Silver Sparrow is a read that sucks you in from the very start. It’s a tale of two families, lies, heartache and deceit. James Witherspoon is married but falls for another woman and has a daughter with her. He isn’t a bad man or father by any means so it’s hard to hate or believe that he has done such an awful thing. He was a man who simply fell for two completely different women and couldn’t let go of either one. Only one of his “families” knows the other exists, they live in the same city on opposite sides. One day the curiosity of Dana, his “secret daughter" gets the best of her and when she and Chaurisse happen to cross paths she can’t help herself. Dana befriends Chaurisse wanting to know why her dad can openly claim that one and not her. She is jealous and hates that she is a secret. She feels unwanted and second best. On the other hand Chaurisse is living a good life with both her parents unaware that her daddy has this secret that would hurt her to the core if she ever found out, once this secret web of lies unfolds everything will hit the roof like no one can imagine.
I loved this story from the very first page. I enjoyed how it was told in parts, Dana’s and Chaurisse’s points of view. We get to see how each one lives and what they know and don’t know. We get to see for ourselves how each “family” deals and interacts with James. Does he treat them different or is it just how Dana sees things since she knows his secret? Although Dana’s actions at first might have been a tad shady she does start to like her sister and hates that she thought otherwise. Tayari Jones weaves the perfect tale of lies and deceit but most importantly that of family. While this read is the telling of James and his actions its core is that of his daughters. They are the ones who are “paying” for his actions. They are innocent players in his game of lies. They are victims of sorts in my opinion, they never asked to be put into this situation yet they are ones who are being short changed. All in all I highly recommend this story, you will not be able to let it go once you start it’s definitely worth the read.