Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Having Our Say by Sarah and A. Elizabeth Delaney with Amy Hill Hearth

Like sitting on a porch and listening to the stories your grandparents would tell over and over again… Having Our Say by Sarah and A. Elizabeth (Bessie) Delany with Amy Hill Hearth, is an autobiographical account of two sisters, whom with great dignity and a bit of feisty humor detail the past century of their lives. Having both lived well past 100 years, the two women share stories of times past and weigh in on the future.

Having grown up on the campus of St Augustine’s School in Raleigh, North Carolina, the sisters took great pride in their education and upbringing. While at times seeming sheltered by the conformities of societal standards, the Delaney sisters detail experiences that can only be described as adventurous (particularly during the early 1900s). They share anecdotal and candid advice while detailing the journeys that brought them from under their parents’ fostering to live in New York City amongst some of the most prominent artist of the Harlem Renaissance.

Their references to racial inequalities, women’s rights and personal reflections are as blunt as a conversation with grandma. The two women’s differing personalities is what makes for such a pleasant read. While Sarah was the quieter, reserved sister with a bit of reasoning, Bessie was a quick tongued contender on any subject. Thus, their accounts on events make for very opinionated and sometimes lap-slapping hilarious stories.

When originally published, Having Our Say stayed on the New York Times Best Sellers List for 105 weeks, inspired a Broadway play and television film. Having Our Say is a quick and enjoyable read. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a conversational story with historical references and laugh out loud humor.
Review by Trinika A.

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