Cover Image: Memphis

Memphis

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Member Reviews

A heartbreaking look at a family of women who face tragedy after tragedy throughout the decades all while still overcoming them.
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I adored this book and these characters will stay with me for a long time. If you enjoy reading Jacqueline Woodson, Tayari Jones or Brit Bennet, or are looking for diverse stories, read this wonderful book. Thank you Dial Press for ARC.
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DNF this book. Due to the authors comments towards some bookstagrammers, I have decided this is not a book for me. 

I will not be posting any reviews for this book on my social media.
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I really enjoyed this and thought it was a very well written story. Unfortunately, this book took me a few months to finish, but that was not the books fault. I'm not sure if it is because of the time it took to read or it would have happened if I read it straight through in a couple of days, but it was a little challenging at times trying to keep the timelines straight. I wish it had been written more linear, but after my initial confusion in trying to remember what occurred the last time I was with a certain character or time period, I was able to quickly pick it back up mentally and it was fine.

I loved how new this story felt. I loved that there were multiple character perspectives (sometimes I don't) as all the characters were interesting and had something important to say or impart on the story. I love how this was a story of family, (despite the many bad things that occurred to these women) in how they stuck together and were there for one another. This book does come with a lot of trigger warnings, however the worst of the content (from what I can remember) was written off the page.

The reason for the slight downgrade in rating is because of the non-linear timeline as well as the abruptness of the ending. Since I was reading this on my iPad, I lost track of where I was % wise in terms of how close I was to the end and I kept tapping my iPad, not believing that I actually reached the end. I was really upset! I wanted the story to keep going and thought it should have, but I do respect the author's choice in ending it the way she did. (It's more my fault for not paying attention.) Lastly, the author's note clinched my appreciation for her and her story. She offered a unique perspective and background on why she chose to tell this kind of story. I cannot wait for her next book.

Thank you to Netgalley and The Dial Press for the gifted e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

Review Date: 06/14/2022
Publication Date: 04/05/2022
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Pushcart Prize-nominated poet and former attorney Stringfellow draws on her own family’s rich history to pen a stunning debut. Stringfellow’s grandfather was a World War II veteran who served as the first Black homicide detective in Memphis—before being lynched by his own all-white police squad. Her grandmother was among the first Black nurses in Memphis. This dual legacy of excellence and injustice permeates the novel as it traces a legacy of violence and matriarchal strength through three generations of Black women living in this historic city from 1937 to 2003. It unflinchingly portrays both its strong communities and grim history of racism and violence, illuminating the secrets each generation kept and the traumas they endured. Readers should know this novel depicts horrifying events (content warnings apply), yet it also lovingly and fiercely conveys the resilience, grit, love, and even joy of these women and their community.
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3.5 A family that has its roots in Memphis, TN is told from multiple female family members in a non-linear format. Each chapter we had a woman in the family in a different time period telling her portion of life at that time, which made things pretty confusing pretty quickly. 

I enjoyed the voices and the women and the lives they shared, the problems they encountered and the love they have for one another. This addressed many social issues which I appreciated. The depth of family bonds were beautiful to watch. 

The writing was well crafted. This was mainly a number of characters studies with not a lot of plot. There were incidents addressed but often they didn't happen on the page. I've been having a hard time with character study books--I'm beginning to learn that I appreciate more plot.

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group for the e-copy in return for my honest review.
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I wanted to love this book but it fell short for me. I usually love books with multiple voices but this book combined multiple perspectives AND multiple timelines and I often was not sure which character I was reading about. The confusing storyline and the disturbing content took away from the parts of the story that I enjoyed.
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This book was powerful, it was engrossing it was everything I thought it would be and more. Spanning three generations of women, Memphis tells the interconnected stories of women, mothers, sisters, and daughters. 

Filled with pain, love and family ties the themes and content were difficult but flowed together so nicely. 

The writing! It is impossible not to be caught up by the sheer beauty of the sentences that hung in your heart as you read. I wanted to rush through this book in anticipation of what happens next, but I also wanted to take my time and savour each word. 

Such a brilliant debut!
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Memphis is the debut novel by Tara M. Stringfellow.  I loved this book!  I gave it 4 1/2 stars.  It is a book about three  generations of a Southern black family.  The narrative spans 70 years and goes back and forth in time.  It was a heartbreaking read and had me hooked from the first page.  Thank you so much to NetGalley for the arc.
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This stunning portrait of Black girlhood follows three generations of women living in Memphis, Tennessee. It's beautifully written and tastefully navigates major moments in history as they affect the lives of these women.
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CW: Sexual Violence, Lynching, Rape, Police Violence.
 
I received a reviewer copy of Memphis by Tara M. Stringfellow from the publisher The Dial Press from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
 
What It’s About: This book follows three generations of Black woman in Memphis. This book follows Joan’s grandmother and grandfather building their home in the Black neighborhood of Douglass to 70 years later where we meet Joan, an artist who translates her anger with her paintbrush.
 
What I Loved: This book is just really a powerful story. The writing is gorgeous and you are immediately dropped into this world. This book follows the trauma and its impacts across generations. This book is both devastating, but ultimately hopeful as these strong women work to build and love past their trauma. If you like a family saga, this book is an excellent choice. Definitely character driven. Please take the content warnings seriously.

What I didn’t like so much: At times the transition between past and present could be a bit difficult to follow.
  
Who Should Read It: People who love family sagas.
 
Summary: A multi-generation saga that follows three generations of women in Memphis.
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A beautiful multi-generational story of a family of women from Memphis. I loved it, and Read With Jenna always has the best book club picks!
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I think this book had a lot of promise. I loved how Memphis is also a character within this story, and I think it provides a bit of consistency across the jarring timeline. I loved the fantastic cover and that the focus is on multi-generations of Black Women. I also thought the book did a great job at exploring the theme of resiliency within The South.

I was very intrigued by the book's description; however, I left the book with some unanswered questions. I understand that life is circular and generational curses exist, but I wish the book covered more than that. The timeline of this book is not linear, and it jumps around quite a bit where it feels very abrupt. I also felt like the characters and the plot lacked originiality. I honestly don't think I will remember any aspect of this book after a week. 

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Ooof - the feelings / storytelling in this book!

The stories of several women in a family and their accumulated intergenerational trauma and pain were beautifully and delicately written. Even though there was a lot of jumping around between timelines and characters, they all flowed and gave the novel an additional layer of emotion. I would have appreciated a Mya chapter, but overall a very solid and engaging read.

Thank you to Penguin House + NetGalley for the ARC!
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So many feelings about this book. From the way the multigenerational perspectives told the stories of the women of the North family to bearing witness to their lives to the descriptions of Memphis...it was so beautiful, heartbreaking, and revitalizing all at once. This book is an ode to Black women, and Stringfellow beautifully captures this.
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The story of the courage, tenacity, and conviction of three generations of black women in Memphis, Tennessee. The novel alternates between the lives of Hazel North, her daughters Miriam and August, and Miriam’s oldest daughter, Joan. The women’s stories include accounts of poverty, death, murder, gang violence, rape, and racism as well as their endeavors to gain an education, provide a stable life for themselves and their family, move forward the cause of civil rights, and pursue their passions and fulfill their dreams. While the women of the North family help and support each other, they are also surrounded by a larger community of black women in their Memphis neighborhood who rally around them in good times and bad offering advice, love, and friendship. The reader will come away from the story inspired by the North women; their strength as individuals, their bond as a family, and their connection to their community in Memphis.
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Memphis tells the history of a family, through the perspectives of Joan, August, Miriam, and Hazel. We see multiple generations of women who have endured challenges and resilience. The story is told in a non-linear order, which can be confusing, but is still well-done. (I must mention that it is not my particular taste.) Though the women find themselves sharing about their challenges, as a Black woman, I can empathize with their experiences. Stringfellow does a wonderful job of highlighting the experiences of Black women.
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Tara Stringfellow deserves every accolade for this expansive novel. I loved the writing style and the characters. I can't wait to see what she does next!
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC. Memphis spans three generations of North women living in North Memphis. It examines what it means to be a black women living in America and the struggle and love that entails. I’m glad Joan wins in the end and she begins to see her dreams come true.
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I unfortunately had to DNF this book due to some of the content. I very much enjoyed the writing and was interested in the storyline, but some of the content was triggering and it was not a title I felt I could finish.
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