Excerpt from Getting Mother's Body by Suzan-Lori Parks, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Getting Mother's Body

By Suzan-Lori Parks

Getting Mother's Body
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: May 2003,
    272 pages.
    Paperback: Apr 2004,
    288 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


"You ain't been around in almost a month," I said, breathless from the swirling.

"I been working, girl," he said. He got a custom-coffin business. He makes and sells handmade coffins in any shape you want with plush lining inside and everything. While we drove he showed me his sample book with three new photographs, proud, like folks show pictures of they children. A oak Cadillac, a guitar of cherry wood, and a pharaoh-style one too, all big enough to get buried inside, the new ones not painted yet so folks can pick out they own colors.

"People been talking," I said.

"What they saying?"

"Stuff," I said. "They saying stuff." We kissed as we drove down the road and then I started laughing cause he was tickling me and getting me undressed and showing me his sample book and driving all at the same time. His left hand on the wheel, his right hand between my legs. Then we pulled off the road. Then we did it. Now we done.

"I'll get you a whole damn carload full of panties, girl," he says. "Them panties you had on is probably along the side of the road somewhere between here and Lincoln." He smiles and I smile with him. I remember taking them off. The wind was whipping and musta whipped them out the window while we drove. But that was an hour ago.

Now I look down the road, seeing if I can see them. I see somebody down there walking in the dirt and the shimmer from the heat.

"I don't wanna go home without no panties," I says.

"You worry too much," Snipes says.

All the car doors are open and the wind goes through, drying the sweat off the seats.

"I gotta know something," I says.

"Whut?"

"The man's supposed to ask the girl," I whisper.

He don't speak.

We been together since March. Now it's July. I wanna give him a chance to ask me.

"You said I wouldn't get bigged the first time we did it," I says.

"Was our first time your first time?" he says.

"You gonna marry me or what?" I says. The words come out too loud.

He don't speak. He cuts on the radio but it don't work when the car ain't running. He gets out, closing the back two doors, leaving mines open and getting back behind the wheel.

"Sure I'm gonna marry you," he says at last. "You my treasure. You think I don't wanna marry my treasure?"

"People are talking," I says.

"They just jealous," he says and we both laugh. "Billy Beede got herself a good-looking man and they all jealous."

When we quit laughing we sit there quiet.

"You my treasure, girl," he says. "You my treasure, capital T, make no mistake."

"I'm five months gone," I says. Too loud again.

He wraps his fingers tight around the wheel. I want him to look at me but he don't.

Someone comes up, stopping a foot or two from the car to stare at us openmouthed. It's Laz. He got his wool cap down around his ears and his plaid shirt buttoned to the chin.

"You want yr ass kicked?" Snipes asks him.

"Not today," Laz says.

"You don't stop looking at me and my woman, I'ma kick yr black ass," Snipes says.

Laz looks at the ground.

"You don't get the hell outa here, I'ma kill you," Snipes says.

"Being dead don't bother me none," Laz says. He got a bold voice but he ain't looking up from the ground.

Snipes jumps out the car and they stand there toe to toe. Everything Snipes got is better than everything Laz got.

"Go the hell home, Laz," I says and he turns and goes. Snipes throws a rock and Laz runs.

"Goddamn boot-black-wool-hat-wearing-four-eyed nigger probably wanted to see us doing it," Snipes goes, getting back in the car and laughing and holding my hand. "Peeping and creeping boot-black-winter-hat nigger."

Excerpted from Getting Mother's Body by Suzan-Lori Parks Copyright© 2003 by Suzan-Lori Parks. Excerpted by permission of Random House, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Take This Man
    Take This Man
    by Brando Skyhorse
    "A chorus of six men calling me Son might sound ludicrous to you, but to me it's the sound of ...
  • Book Jacket: The Hundred-Year House
    The Hundred-Year House
    by Rebecca Makkai
    Rebecca Makkai's sophomore novel The Hundred-Year House could just have easily been titled ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Valley of Amazement
    by Amy Tan
    "Mirror, Mirror on the wall
    I am my mother after all!"


    In my pre-retirement days as a professor ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Arsonist
by Sue Miller

Published Jun. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  133Tomlinson Hill:
    Chris Tomlinson

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.