The second book from my Winter Reading List brought me back to the familiar world of fiction, but I have never read anything like it before, and I doubt I will at any point in the future. Silver Sparrow broke my heart in the best way possible. I sat there with the book in my lap turned to the last page feeling like I was going to cry, but also feeling like I understood something about myself that I hadn't before.
Dana Yarboro is the narrator for the better portion of the book. We learn early on that she is a "secret." Her father has a wife and a child who must never know about Dana and her mother, and thus begins Dana's life, which is orchestrated to accommodate that secrecy. She is not able to take a job where her father's other daughter does. She must wait to find out where that daughter will go to high school before she knows if she can attend her top choice. The narrative created the feeling that Dana lives her life on her sister's leftovers, and the air of Dana's illegitimacy is a storm cloud that never strays far from over her head.
The only difficulty I had with the book was when the narrator shifted and we began to hear the story from Chaurisse's (the "legitimate" daughter's) point of view. I had a really hard time warming up to her. She was likeable enough, but Dana's pain came first, and that pain was such a tangible thing; it was difficult to empathize with someone who had any part of that pain, though I held her father more responsible than anyone.
I wonder about Dana from time to time like she is a real person. Is she ok? Why would her father say that to her? No one should have to grow up like that, and on and on. This is a book that lingers in the corners of your mind long after you've put it down. If you are looking for that kind of book, you need to read Silver Sparrow.