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Alretha Thomas

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Daughter Denied
by Alretha Thomas   

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Books by Alretha Thomas
· Dancing Her Dreams Away
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Publisher:  Waterfront Productions/Diverse Arts Collective Type: 


Copyright:  May 3, 2008 ISBN-13:  9780975918593

Daughter Denied

Daughter Denied is a powerful and uplifting story, told through the eyes of 7-year-old Tina, a sensitive and precocious African-American girl, and her mother Earnestine, who's trapped in a cycle of heroin addiction and co-dependency. This grim routine leaves Tina and her siblings trapped in a grueling cycle themselves; bouncing from one hole-in-the-wall to another, vacillating between faith and despair as Earnestine makes and breaks promise after promise to end her drug use and leave their abusive stepfather Brother Floyd. At her wits end, Earnestine takes Tina and her siblings down south to live with Aunt Veronica. Will the south become the much awaited promise land or just another broken promise?

An unflinching study of urban decay revealed through the end-days of a make shift family. The story is told through the eyes of 7-year-old Tina and her mother Earnestine. Tina, the third of five children, is a sensitive girl victimized by a stepfather addicted to cruelty and neglected by a mother addicted to heroin. Earnestine is a tortured soul who in spite of her drug addiction and poor taste in men, fights to keep her family together. The story of loss, shame and ultimately compassion is written in terse prose, reflecting the fragmented era in which the story is set - the late 1960's.

Daughter Denied, inspired by Alretha Thomas's own tumultuous upbringing, follows Tina from pre-adolescent to young adulthood. Wrought from a lifetime of self-discovery, Thomas has poured into Tina, the most vulnerable character, the self-examination and recrimination that victims often feel. This is an urban drama that reflects the soul of the female survivor who emerges whole.

Tina never disintegrates into hatred and her messages of renewal and hope bring the salvation to the story that she ultimately herself receives.

Its readability, depth and dialog-driven character interaction makes it fast paced. Daughter Denied captures the essence of a dysfunctional urban family and pulls no punches while at the same time providing the reader with humorous and light moments characteristic of the climate of the 60's which often vacillated from turbulent to joyous.


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Reader Reviews for "Daughter Denied"

Reviewed by Jackie McKinney 6/17/2008
Alretha Thomas has written a well rounded realistic novel. The Rivers Family issues and is told from the voice of Tina. We turn page by page of Tina and her families lives. This story is told in different aspects of love and forgiveness. It is not a fairytale novel. Earnestine has 5 children and a husband. Tina is one of those children. Along with her and her 3 sisters & 1 brother, we learn that their happy times are always short lived. Each child has their own secret passion to achieve a level of love, but deep rooted they all have a deep love for one another. Each member of the Rivers family is lacking the type of love that they are thriving for, including the mom and the dad & step dad. You see where children have to deal and live through decisions made by their parents and also the price that has to be paid by all involved. Tina displays an uncanny tolerence and she is what we call an old soul. A child that has to grow up to fast, because so much responsibility is placed on her directly and indirectly. The longing for love leaves the children in search of something more, something that they feel they aren't getting at home. You see how destruction sets in and devastation uproots the family. The different aspects of abuse, love and plain denial is displayed throughout this novel. I abolutely was intrigued with the pace and structure of this novel. You get a completeness from the story, but it does leave you asking for more. Alretha definitely can come with a sequel that her readers would love to have. This is the type of novel that is movie material. I can imagine seeing this characters on the big screen... truly well written and you will go through the pages as if you are living next door to this family, visualizing every scene. Very well written Alretha.

This novel made ARAROJAX Literary Club book selection of the month.
Reviewed by Alretha Thomas 6/16/2008
Review by A Place of Our Own Book Club

Reviewed by Tavares S. Carney

"All In the Family"

In Daughter Denied, Alretha Thomas' first novel, readers are drawn into the world of the Rivers family. The story, told through the eyes of a young African-American girl, Tina Ann Rivers, is an emotional story of a family living in poverty. The plot has several scenarios that offer causes, effects and solutions to a seemingly, never-ending dilemma for the Rivers family.

Tina and her siblings, Janice, Debra, Larry and Florence, long for what seems like an unattainable stable family environment. Tina is a very smart, yet insecure,young girl that learns to make a way against all odds. In spite of her stepfather, Brother Floyd's, physical abuse and her mother, Ernestine's drug addiction and emotional instability, Tina finds solace in her relationships with extended family and friends. Tina's faith during trying times keeps her going. Somewhat naďve in her early childhood, Tina grows into a confident woman, ready to move on with her life despite the cards she has been dealt.

Alretha Thomas delivers a gripping tale with Daughter Denied. Although we see and hear about similar families daily, this novel was unpredictable. It deals with religious differences within a household, blended families, child abuse, drug abuse, teen pregnancy, friendships, long distance relationships, imprisonment and more. In the end, I was truly happy to see that Tina and er siblings were going to be okay. I recommend this book to anyone facing familial challenges.

Reviewed by Tavares S. Carney
APOOO BookClub
Reviewed by Locksie Locks 5/27/2008

From San Francisco and New Orleans to Los Angeles, this riveting story spans over a decade and is told through the eyes of seven-year-old Tina Ann Rivers and her mother Earnestine.

Growing up in 1960’s through the 70’s was no easy task for Tina and her family. Her mother Earnestine is addicted to drugs as well as to her husband. Earnestine is so in love with her husband much to the confusion of Tina and her siblings who call their stepfather Brother Floyd. They wonder what this man has over their mother since he’s proved time and time again that he isn’t worthy of her love.

The prison has a revolving door that attracts Brother Floyd. When he is in confinement he seems sorry for being the criminal that he is and stresses to his family that this is the last time! Earnestine promises her children that she won’t take Brother Floyd back and tries to get along with out him. But this needy mother can’t really cope and uses drugs as a crutch.

The children especially Tina, rejoice when their abusive step father is not around but notice their mother’s sadness also. The five children all have different fathers and Tina constantly wonders what happened to hers and why he doesn’t come and take her away with him.
As the story unfolds Brother Floyd’s disposition becomes clear. Family members of Earnestine and Brother Floyd’s step in to try and ease the burden on Earnestine; making things seem normal for a while…but for the Rivers family anything good doesn’t last long…and soon the vicious cycle returns and threatens to tear this family apart for good!
Read about the tribulations this family goes through… will they ever be together as a “normal” family? Will Tina grow up with hatred in her heart?
Read this superb drama and find out!!!

I thoroughly enjoyed this read, and once I started could not put this novel down! As a mother there were times in this book I wanted to slap Earnestin! Growing up with a stepfather myself I totally understood the thoughts and actions of Tina and her siblings.
This is an emotional read but also a joyful one bringing to light numerous messages and hopes.

Author Alretha Thomas wasted no time getting the reader’s attention, and the use of Tina and Earnestin’s letters written to secondary characters was an excellent way to help expedite the story!
A great title choice that fits this story like a glove along with the extraordinary characters and the intense original plot this novel certainly has the makings of a bestseller!

Excellent work Ms Thomas!

Locksie ARC Book Club Inc.

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