Cover image for Homemade love
Homemade love
Cooper, J. California.
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Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Griffin, c1986..
Physical Description:
175 pages ; 21 cm
Format :


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J. California Cooper is the author of novels, six collections of stories, and seventeen plays. Her book Homemade Love was the winner of the American Book Award in 1989, and she has been honored as the Black Playwright of the Year. She has also received the James Baldwin Writing Award and the Literary Lion Award from the American Library Association. She lived in California until her death in 2014.

Author Notes

J. California Cooper was born in Berkeley, California in 1932. She was an award-winning playwright, novelist, and short story writer. She wrote 17 plays and received a 1978 Black Playwright Award for Strangers. She wrote several short story collections including A Piece of Mine, Wild Stars Seeking Midnight Suns, and The Future Has a Past. Homemade Love received the 1989 American Book Award and Funny Valentine was made into a 1999 TV movie. Her novels included Family, The Wake of the Wind, Life Is Short but Wide, and Some People, Some Other Place. She received the James Baldwin Award and the Literary Lion Award from the American Library Association in 1988. She died on September 20, 2014 at the age of 82.

(Bowker Author Biography) J. California Cooper is the author of five collections of short stories, including Homemade Love, winner of the 1989 American Book Award, and the novels The Wake of the Wind, Family, and In Search of Satisfaction. She lives in northern California.

(Publisher Provided)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

The stories in this second collection from the author of A Piece of Mine are all about love. About sex and family too, and life when it is lived with wonder and relish. Told in first-person, in a lively, unobtrusive black dialect, these tales, set in both country and city, are lit with wisdom and high-spirited humor. In ``Happiness Does Not Come in Colors,'' a black activist widowed in the '60s gradually allows herself to become attached to a white man, while a younger black woman finds that activism has expanded her life in surprising ways. In ``The Magic Strength of Need,'' an ambitious girl of exceptional ugliness builds an empire of beauty products and services, is finally wooed by the longed-for rich man and learns to value the love of a constant friend. ``Spooks'' is a sexual comedy in which two men enjoy the favors of a recent widow whose ``husband'' returns to her each night. Cooper is overfond of aphoristic commentary and exclamation marks, and her narrators may have similar-sounding voices, but she tells stories that move and dance about people who pop off the page to lodge themselves firmly in the reader's affection. (August 29) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Cooper's second volume of short stories (her first was A Piece of Mine , LJ 12/84) concerns black women and men, parents and children, as they struggle and love. Told in a folksy first-person voice, these stories nearly all have happy endings. Contrasts abound: In ``Living,'' a middle-aged man leaves his wife and piece of land to try city life, and after three days and four hospitalizations crawls gratefully back home. ``The Watcher'' is the neighborhood snoop, so intent on everyone else's business that she does not see that her own son is on smack. The overabundance of exclamation points and the sameness of style do get a little tiresome, but the stories are saved from preachiness by the wry and somewhat ingenuous tone. This would be an excellent addition to collections serving black young adult readers. Janet Boyarin Blundell, M.L.S., Brookdale Community Coll., Lincroft, N.J. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.