The BookBrowse Review

Published June 22, 2022

ISSN: 1930-0018

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Contents

In This Edition of
The BookBrowse Review

Highlighting indicates debut books

Editor's Introduction
Reviews
Hardcovers Paperbacks
First Impressions
Latest Author Interviews
Recommended for Book Clubs
Book Discussions

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Publishing Soon

Literary Fiction


Historical Fiction


Short Stories


Essays


Mysteries


Thrillers


Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Speculative, Alt. History


Biography/Memoir


History, Current Affairs and Religion


Science, Health and the Environment


Travel & Adventure


Young Adults

Literary Fiction

  • Big Girl by Mecca Jamilah Sullivan (rated 4/5)

Thrillers


Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Speculative, Alt. History


Extras
  • Blog:
    6 Novels for Book Clubs That Reflect on Reproductive Rights
  • Wordplay:
    T O Thing W H T F I F I
  • Book Giveaway:
    Win a signed copy of Where the Crawdads Sing
Book Jacket

Big Girl
A Novel
by Mecca Jamilah Sullivan
12 Jul 2022
288 pages
Publisher: Liveright/W.W. Norton
Genre: Literary Fiction
Critics:
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Exquisitely compassionate and witty, Big Girl traces the intergenerational hungers and desires of Black womanhood, as told through the unforgettable voice of Malaya Clondon.

In her highly anticipated debut novel, Mecca Jamilah Sullivan explores the perils―and undeniable beauty―of insatiable longing.

Growing up in a rapidly changing Harlem, eight-year-old Malaya hates when her mother drags her to Weight Watchers meetings; she'd rather paint alone in her bedroom or enjoy forbidden street foods with her father. For Malaya, the pressures of her predominantly white Upper East Side prep school are relentless, as are the expectations passed down from her painfully proper mother and sharp-tongued grandmother. As she comes of age in the 1990s, she finds solace in the music of Biggie Smalls and Aaliyah, but her weight continues to climb―until a family tragedy forces her to face the source of her hunger, ultimately shattering her inherited stigmas surrounding women's bodies, and embracing her own desire. Written with vibrant lyricism shot through with tenderness, Big Girl announces Sullivan as an urgent and vital voice in contemporary fiction.

"Sullivan charms in her stunning debut novel about a Black girl's coming-of-age...All of Sullivan's characters—even the cruel ones—brim with humanity, and the author shines when conveying the details of Malaya's comforts...This is a treasure." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Sullivan writes with tenderness and uses the language of poetry to communicate her protagonist's inner life...A lyrical and important coming-of-age novel." - Kirkus Reviews

"There are three books on earth that I would give anything to be able to write and reread until the suns burns us up. Big Girl is one of those books. The sound, the expansiveness of the whispers, the critical, brilliant, sometimes bruising, beautiful Black girlness explored in this novel is literally second to none…I know I have just read and reread a new American classic that we as a culture and country desperately need. Believe that." - Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy: An American Memoir

"Mecca Jamilah Sullivan gives voice to girls and women with unruly bodies who dare to take up space in a world that shames them for being hungry for more. Alive with delicious prose and the cacophony of '90s Harlem, Big Girl gifts us a heroine carrying the weight of worn out ideas who dares to defy the compulsion to shrink, and in turn teaches us to pursue our fullest, most desirous selves without shame. Big Girl is a tender and sumptuous offering of beauty." - Janet Mock, author of Redefining Realness and Surpassing Certainty

"Mecca Jamilah Sullivan has given us a gift as big, beautiful and complicated as living itself, filled with everyday people who in her gifted hands, show us the love and struggle of what it means to be inside bodies that don't always fit with the outside world. I found myself cheering for Percy, Nyela, the Harlem streets and of course, for Malaya. Lovely." - Jacqueline Woodson, author of Red at the Bone

Mecca Jamilah Sullivan is an associate professor of English at Georgetown University, and the author of Blue Talk and Love, winner of the Judith A. Markowitz Award from Lambda Literary. A native of Harlem, she lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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