Silver Sparrow is a story about family — about relationships between husband and wife, between sisters, and between mother and daughter. It’s about many of the relationships through which I have experienced family.
I was born between a vibrant, older sister and a charming, younger brother. We were raised by a shy yet comedic father and a spirited and bold mother. I love them all. But familial relationships are never perfect and coming to terms with this fact is part of the transition from childhood to adulthood. Tayari Jones’s Silver Sparrow was a perfect literary piece for my own transition. Here are some of her words that I made sure to take note of:
This, I now know, is how people go crazy and do things they regret. Look at the woman who almost killed Al Green. I am sure she cooked those grits, fully intending to eat them for breakfast. Then he did something that set her off. After that, she probably picked up the pot, just to scare him a little bit. Next thing she knew and the boiling grits were all over his face. There was a name for that kind of thing. “Crime of passion.” It meant that it wasn’t your fault.
I love that Tayari Jones incorporated this story into the novel because (1) I didn’t know the full story of the woman who threw grits on Al Green. I always heard the story in a jokingly manner, I never knew that the woman committed suicide afterwards. (2) It made me think about our capacity to go crazy, particularly women in romantic relationships with men. I’ll skip any over-sharing on my part, but I have yet to figure the balance between emotionally invested and emotionally overwhelming when it comes to romantic relationships.
If you have a brother, it’s the worst thing. If your mama has a boy to care for, she will show you the kind of love she is capable of. And once you see that you will never get over it. You will be lonely for the rest of your life.
Ha! This is some truth. There is something special about mother-son relationships. I have watched my mother and brother fight hard and love hard. My mother is very close with my older sister, but there’s something different about the relationship my mother has with my brother. Part of it is the anxiety that black mothers have around raising black men in a racist society. I understand this anxiety and have even internalized it but I don’t know why this doesn’t translate over into black mother-daughter relationships.
I never had no quarrel with the truth.
This was just a reminder to myself, to never argue with the truth.
People say, that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. But they are wrong. What doesn’t kill you, doesn’t kill you. That’s all you get. Sometimes, you just have to hope that’s enough.
I love when stories are told with unresolved endings–Silver Sparrow is one of them. As we see with this statement, Jones doesn’t try to pretty up any part of this story.