Coffee Will Make You Black

But the only important thing in a book is the meaning it has for you; it may have other and much more profound meanings for the critic, but at second-hand they can be of small service to you.”

W. Somerset Maugham


 I finished Coffee Will Make You Black by April Sinclair.

It is fabulous.

As usual my friend,

who recommended this book and many others,

 was right,

 she said I would like it,

 and I did.

 Coffee is a coming of age story.

I have, over the years read many of these types of books.

It is a genre I enjoy.

For a while when I was in High School,

when dinosaurs walked the earth,

were talking eighties,

I read many books by and about inner city black youth.

One sticks in my mind,

 Manchild In the Promised Land by Claude Brown.

This book left quite an impression.

It was about growing up in Harlem in the forties and fifties.

This was the first generation born in the northern ghettos,

their parents were part of the massive migration from the south.

Manchild and later the works of James Baldwin,

one of my favourite writers,

gave me a glimpse of what being black, meant.

Victims of ingrained, institutionalised racism.

Manchild was also about a boy of great intelligence and sensitivity,

who makes it out of the ghetto.

A winner, a survivor.

It was a bleak story that did however,

 contain hope.

Coffee Will Make You Black  is not like that,

 Jean (Stevie) is a smart kid,

 and she comes from a loving family.

You never doubt that Stevie will make it.

Her family has lived through the wars.

Her grandmother, in the south,

her parents on the south side of Chicago.

We are now in the 60’s,

 the freedom rides, the march on Washington, the war on poverty,

have all come and gone.

Things are easier for Stevie,

 not easy,


She has a real chance,

 if she can resist the peer pressure about sex and drugs.

Stevie is also struggling with her emergent sexuality,

is she “funny” ( Lesbian)

and if she is,

 will she loose her friends and family.

Stevie’s family have their prolems, her father drinks a little and her mother rides her.

But, they love her and each other.

I just loved  it,

it was inspiring in a quiet way.

It was also  funny.

No, hand wrigging teenage angst.

You know,

 this girl.

 has what it takes to surpass racism and homophobia.

The back cover says Sinclair is working on a sequel,

I’d love to see what happens to Stevie and Nurse Horn.

Fingers crossed.

A good read.

Not as dramatic as Manchild but, I suspect,

 it will be just as memorable.

Later girls


Toronto is nice and so are the people

I had a terrific time in Toronto.

Check me out at the Hockey Hall Of Fame.Caroline Filler

I am standing in a replica of The Habs dressing room,

 in front of my all time favorite player’s jersey.

Guy Lafleur, “the flower”

Toronto was great.

My friends were nice enough to take me all over the place.

On Saturday, we went downtown and to Kensington market.         

I got a vintage silk scarf for my mom, at a funky little shop.

Downtown we went book shopping and I picked up a book my friend suggested,

Coffee Will Make You Black.

This was at Glad Day, the gay bookstore.            

A very enjoyable afternoon.

In the evening we went to,

wait for it,


It was fun,

 I never did quite figure out the rules but,

so what,

and I met more nice people.

Sunday we had a lovely breakfast at a place called Edward Levesque’s .

followed by an exploration of the Beaches and a walk on the boardwalk.

The boardwalk runs along Lake Ontario.                            

Wow, no wonder they call them the Great Lakes.

Monday was The Hall and back home on the train.

Toronto made a fabulous impression,

 it’s a big city with lots to see.

Nice neighborhood’s, nice people.

I’ll have to go back.

It took my mind off everything,

and was a genuine escape,

 in the best possible way.

I hope my friends aren’t too exhausted.

Their hospitality was fabulous. Thank you girls.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t read on the train,

 the motion made me a little nauseous when reading.

So, I’ll tell you about Wilde another time.

Later girls