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Resurrecting Mingus

Resurrecting Mingus

  • reading group guide
Resurrecting Mingus is the story of a young woman lost -- striving to find her own identity while dealing with powerful and painful questions that force her to confront everything and everyone that matters to her. In this stunning debut novel, Jenoyne Adams, a PEN Center USA West Emerging Voices Fellow, displays a rare talent for a first-time author: the skill and courage to write about some of the most controversial issues today in an absorbing and compulsively readable manner.
Mingus Browning is a successful, young, beautiful lawyer whose life is falling apart. After a thirty-five-year marriage, Mingus's African-American father has suddenly left her Irish mother for a black woman. A daddy's girl, Mingus is torn between the father she has always been closer to, the mother she may have to defend in divorce proceedings, and a sister hell-bent on winning their lifelong sibling rivalry. Mingus is caught in middle of the three, a woman alone, and, in turn, realizes that she has probably always felt more comfortable that way because she is part of no one group, let alone a united family. Juggling her parents' grief with her own proves to be too much for Mingus as she stumbles from one questionable relationship to another, further complicating her life.
After years of isolating herself from those who have tried to care for her, Mingus finally meets someone who rips through her protective defenses and exposes her need to be loved. Eric Simms, a smooth-talking television producer, is through playing dating games and is looking for love for real this time. With Eric, Mingus finally learns to forget the fear of a broken heart and opens herself completely. That is, until word starts circulating that her new love has his secrets as well, and suddenly what was a perfect relationship begins to look like yet another minefield of hurt, as Mingus is forced to choose between her man, her sister, and the truth.
After facing a long, sad string of heartaches and betrayals, Mingus finally reaches the point in her life where she realizes who she is, what she wants, and how she doesn't need another man to get it. Marked by raw images and poetic prose, Jenoyne Adams's affecting first novel candidly explores the bonds of family, faith, and finding someone to love when you can't even find someone to trust.
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  • Free Press | 
  • 256 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780671787813 | 
  • February 2002
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

June 3

He left her for a black woman. Eva called first thing Saturday morning to make sure I heard it from her first. Punk Ass Nigga.

She lay on the couch, butt cheeks wedged between cracked leather cushions, knees pressed into her swollen breasts. It was this position she hated most -- being twisted into a pretzel by 4:00 A.M. sweats and contractions riding each other piggyback across her abdomen.

With the windows shut, the room held the musty scent of unstirred air. The smell nauseated her. Mingus swallowed the acid in the back of her throat and made her way down the unlit hall to the bathroom. A... see more

Reading Group Guide

Reading Group Guide

Resurrecting Mingus by Jenoyne Adams
0-684-87352-4; $24.00; The Free Press

Through the voices of three complex characters--a white woman who has devoted her entire adult life to raising a black family; the black man who leaves her, after thirty-five years of marriage, for a younger black woman; and Mingus, their outwardly successful daughter who is caught between them-- Adams tells a story of love, sacrifice, torn loyalties, and gnawing regrets.
A driven lawyer about to turn thirty, Mingus has always been a Daddy's girl, and more comfortable with being black than white. She vows to date black men only, but can't seem to connect with one who wants to settle down. When her father betrays her trust, and her mother confides her greatest fear--that she is being rejected for a black woman--Mingus begins to re-examine her roots. She takes a chance and dates a white man. Then she meets the black man of her dreams--handsome, confident, and eager to start a family. Eric rips through her protective defenses and exposes her need to be loved. But when word gets around that Eric has his secrets as well, Mingus is forced to choose between the man she loves and the truth. After facing a long string of heartaches and betrayals, Mingus finally realizes who she is, what she wants, and how she doesn't need another man to get it.
Dancer, poet, and novelist Jenoyne Adams tells the story of the pain of unraveling see more

About the Author

Jenoyne Adams
Photo Credit: Pablo Aguilar



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