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Jean "Stevie" Stevenson lives in Chicago's South Side, a neighborhood that acutely feels the social changes of the 1960s. Curious and witty, bold but naïve, Stevie ponders questions such as what makes good hair and which skin shade is better in light of "black is beautiful". Amid the War on Poverty; the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.; race riots; and the Black Power movement, Stevie grows into a socially aware young adult with a burgeoning sexuality and pride in her identity. Learning as much from her mother's strictness, her father's steady encouragement, and her grandmother's strength as she does from her wild friend, Carla, and her white teacher, Nurse Horne, Stevie makes the sometimes harrowing, often hilarious, always enthralling journey into adulthood.
Coffee Will Make You Black received the Carl Sandburg Award from the Friends of the Chicago Public Library.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Aj on 08-06-18
Great coming of age story
This is a great coming of age story of a young African American girl. The author did a fantastic job with the pacing of the story and telling the story in a way that most African Americans would be able to relate to that grew up during these times. I did not grow up in the era the main character did, but the storytelling was so vivid it is easy to get caught up and imagine what life was life back then.
By Katherine A. Robertus on 01-26-18
I loved this book so much.
How April Sinclair managed to write a coming-of-age story of a black girl in Chicago during the late '60s, and make it not just sensitive and wise, but also light and funny, I will never know. What skill! I fell in love with Stevie and can't wait to read the sequel set in her college and post-grad years. The narration was great except for a really unpleasant voice choice for an important character (Nurse Horn, whose words are poignant and careful, speaks them in the most obnoxious, squeaking, asshole time). Note to listeners: A couple of times I had to rewind or check against the ebook text where time jumped ahead, but it was always accurate to the text, just hard to tell that it was an intended leap on audiobook.