In the summer of 1995, ten-year-old Joan, her mother, and her younger sister flee her father’s violence, seeking refuge at her mother’s ancestral home in Memphis. Half a century ago, Joan’s grandfather built this majestic house in the historic Black neighborhood of Douglass–only to be lynched days after becoming the first Black detective in Memphis. This wasn’t the first time violence altered the course of Joan’s family’s trajectory, and she knows it won’t be the last. Longing to become an artist, Joan pours her rage and grief into sketching portraits of the women of North Memphis–including their enigmatic neighbor Miss Dawn, who seems to know something about curses.
Unfolding over seventy years through a chorus of voices, Memphis weaves back and forth in time to show how the past and future are forever intertwined. It is only when Joan comes to see herself as a continuation of a long matrilineal tradition–and the women in her family as her guides to healing–that she understands that her life does not have to be defined by vengeance. That the sole weapon she needs is her paintbrush.
Inspired by the author’s own family history, Memphis–the Black fairy tale she always wanted to read–explores the complexity of what we pass down, not only in our families, but in our country: police brutality and justice, powerlessness and freedom, fate and forgiveness, doubt and faith, sacrifice and love.
What a punch this story packed in less than 300 pages. I could not put it down and when I was forced to put it down to participate in the real world, I couldn’t wait to get back to it.
Memphis follows the lives of the Joan, her mother, her sister, her aunt, and her grandmother. When Joan, her, and her sister flee from their father in the middle of the night, they end their journey in North Memphis. They return to the home Miriam grew up; The one her mother always said she could come home to.
The story is told from different points of view and throughout a timeline. Each of the women have their own demons to battle and they learn how to live with one another, especially with a dark cloud hovering over their lives. The strength and resilience that these women show during their lives keeps them going even when times seem as though everything is going to end.
I loved how the author blends the history of the family along with the history of Memphis.
Tara Stringfellow came into the publishing world swinging and I can’t wait to see what she does next. This story proves that women, especially black women, can overcome just about anything that is thrown at them. They find solace in things they love
𝕎𝕙𝕚𝕝𝕖 𝕀 𝕖𝕟𝕛𝕠𝕪𝕖𝕕 𝕥𝕙𝕚𝕤 𝕓𝕠𝕠𝕜, 𝕀 𝕙𝕒𝕧𝕖 𝕥𝕠 𝕝𝕠𝕨𝕖𝕣 𝕞𝕪 𝕣𝕒𝕥𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝕥𝕒𝕜𝕖 𝕓𝕒𝕔𝕜 𝕞𝕪 𝕣𝕖𝕔𝕠𝕞𝕞𝕖𝕟𝕕𝕒𝕥𝕚𝕠𝕟. 𝕋𝕙𝕖 𝕒𝕦𝕥𝕙𝕠𝕣 𝕥𝕣𝕦𝕝𝕪 𝕤𝕙𝕠𝕨𝕖𝕕 𝕠𝕦𝕥 𝕠𝕟 𝕞𝕪 𝕡𝕠𝕤𝕥 𝕥𝕙𝕚𝕟𝕜𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕤𝕙𝕖 𝕔𝕠𝕦𝕝𝕕 𝕓𝕦𝕝𝕝𝕪 𝕒𝕟𝕠𝕥𝕙𝕖𝕣 𝕣𝕖𝕧𝕚𝕖𝕨𝕖𝕣 𝕨𝕙𝕠 𝕕𝕚𝕕𝕟’𝕥 𝕖𝕧𝕖𝕟 𝕙𝕒𝕧𝕖 𝕒𝕟𝕪𝕥𝕙𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕟𝕖𝕘𝕒𝕥𝕚𝕧𝕖 𝕥𝕠 𝕤𝕒𝕪 𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝕨𝕙𝕒𝕥 𝕤𝕙𝕖 𝕕𝕚𝕕 𝕤𝕒𝕪 𝕚𝕤 𝕥𝕣𝕦𝕖. 𝕋𝕙𝕖 𝕞𝕖𝕟 𝕚𝕟 𝕥𝕙𝕖 𝕓𝕠𝕠𝕜 𝕒𝕣𝕖 𝕥𝕣𝕒𝕤𝕙. 𝕊𝕖𝕩𝕦𝕒𝕝 𝕒𝕓𝕦𝕤𝕖𝕣𝕤, 𝕡𝕙𝕪𝕤𝕚𝕔𝕒𝕝 𝕒𝕓𝕦𝕤𝕖𝕣𝕤. 𝕀 𝕕𝕠 𝕟𝕠𝕥 𝕔𝕠𝕟𝕕𝕠𝕟𝕖 𝕓𝕖𝕙𝕒𝕧𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕒𝕤 𝕚𝕗 𝕪𝕠𝕦’𝕣𝕖 𝕓𝕖𝕥𝕥𝕖𝕣 𝕥𝕙𝕒𝕟 𝕤𝕠𝕞𝕖𝕠𝕟𝕖 𝕓𝕖𝕔𝕒𝕦𝕤𝕖 𝕪𝕠𝕦 𝕡𝕦𝕓𝕝𝕚𝕤𝕙𝕖𝕕 𝕪𝕠𝕦𝕣 𝕗𝕚𝕣𝕤𝕥 𝕓𝕠𝕠𝕜. 𝕎𝕖 𝕒𝕣𝕖 𝕓𝕠𝕠𝕜 𝕣𝕖𝕧𝕚𝕖𝕨𝕖𝕣𝕤 𝕗𝕠𝕣 𝕒 𝕣𝕖𝕒𝕤𝕠𝕟. 𝕎𝕖 𝕨𝕠𝕟’𝕥 𝕝𝕚𝕜𝕖 𝕖𝕧𝕖𝕣𝕪𝕥𝕙𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝕨𝕖 𝕕𝕠𝕟’𝕥 𝕙𝕒𝕧𝕖 𝕥𝕠, 𝕓𝕦𝕥 𝕜𝕖𝕖𝕡 𝕞𝕖𝕤𝕤𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕒𝕣𝕠𝕦𝕟𝕕 𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝕪𝕠𝕦’𝕣𝕖 𝕘𝕠𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕥𝕠 𝕣𝕦𝕟 𝕚𝕟𝕥𝕠 𝕒 𝕣𝕖𝕧𝕚𝕖𝕨𝕖𝕣 𝕨𝕙𝕠 𝕨𝕚𝕝𝕝 𝕙𝕒𝕧𝕖 𝕥𝕙𝕖 𝕥𝕚𝕞𝕖 𝕥𝕠𝕕𝕒𝕪.
1 Golden Girl, well basically at this point it’s Stan.
Sexual assault of a child and domestic abuse, and death of a parent.