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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Great for my African-American Students

How Stella Got Her Groove BackHow Stella Got Her Groove Back by Terry McMillan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I got this book for my high school students through a Title I grant. The books we ordered with the funds are to be used for high-interest young adult reading. I ordered this book because our student body is majority African-American, and I knew that Terry McMillan wrote her books about black characters.

When the order arrived, How Stella Got Her Groove back came with a note asking me that I preview the book because of its sexual content. So I did, and I am still making this available for the students despite of the fact that the "f" word is used liberally and there are a couple of sex scenes that, while certainly erotic, are not, in my opinion, graphically pornographic.

Stella is a 42 year old professional woman who decides that she needs a change in her life. She works in finance, a job she does not enjoy but which pays her quite well. She is also divorced with a 10 year old son. Stella sees an advertisement for Jamaica and decides to book a vacation in Montego Bay. There she meets 20 year old Winston Shakespeare who soon wins her heart. The conflict revolves around her age, his youth, her previous poor experiences with love, and her conflict over whether she feels true love or just chemistry.

I liked the book well enough. I like it better for my students, who often complain that books with black characters stress with negative sides of African-American life. McMillan has created a successful, professional character who struggles with human size problems rather than political systems. I think they, particularly my female students will enjoy this book.

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