Jonetta Rose Barras is the author of the critically acclaimed book The Last of the Black Emperors: The Hollow Comeback of Marion Barry in the New Age of Black Leaders. She is also a columnist for the Washington Times and former associate editor of the Washington City Paper. Her writings have also appeared in the Washington Post, USA Today, American Visions, The New Republic, and The New Democrat. She has appeared as a commentator for CNN, C-SPAN, and PBS and is widely considered one of the freshest female voices speaking for the African-American community.
Integrating a personal narrative with other women's testimonies and research findings with self-help remedies, Barras sheds light on the profound impact fatherlessness can have on black women. In her 30s, Barras learned from her mother that the man she had thought was her father was not. Though stunned by the news, Barras also believed it explained much of the loneliness she endured as a child. She began to try to come to terms with the guilt she felt not only about her father's departure, but about her ruptured relationships with two surrogate fathers, each of whom left her mother while Barras was still a girl. She also recounts her heartrending efforts to mend broken trust with her mother while forging a bond with her own fatherless daughter. The study deepens in subsequent chapters, as Barras intertwines the diverse voices of other black women who grew up without their fathers. Unfortunately, her ambitious effort is marred by overly broad conclusions. She attributes a vast range of dysfunctional behaviors--from promiscuous sexual relationships and a longing for motherhood to the inability to trust and uncontrolled fits of "rage, anger, depression"--to fatherless women. And her reliance on simple solutions at times minimizes the issue's gravity. Her work is stronger when she locates the chasm between black men and women in gender war stereotypes of "good women" and "bad men" and affirmative action policies that have allowed black women upward mobility while moving black men out of the workforce. Her study should stir useful debate. Agent, Victoria Sanders. (May) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Offering a personal perspective, journalist Barras (The Last of the Black Emperors) here identifies a "fatherless woman syndrome" that includes rage, addiction, and sexual acting-out. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
"SEARING AND INTIMATE."
"VIVID, PIERCING . . . THIS BOOK HAS GREAT VALUE. . . . [Barras]
speaks with the passion and penetrating detail of one who has
--The Washington Times