Daddy Was a Number Runner

Daddy Was a Number RunnerFrancie Coffin is an African American twelve year old girl growing up in Harlem with her parents and two older brothers, Sterling and Junior It s the 1930s Times are rough Really rough Francie sleeps on the bed bug ridden sofa in the living room their dad runs numbers Sterling is struggling to stay on the straight and narrow Junior has already failed their mom tries to find ways to feed the family on the same tinned food night after night, and to protect her family from the neighborhood, the police, and themselves.We read about all of these events from Francie s young eyes It is shocking at times, even in 2019, to read some of the experiences that Francie and her family endured It s a coming of age story, so there are references to sex, violence, menstruation, incest, abuse, you name it Meriwether attacks these topics head on in a brave and refreshing way There are no vague terms for abuse in this book, the camera does not pan away when something uncomfortable happens, for lack of a better phrase We see what Francie sees, we have to process what Francie processes we are in it together, for better or worse When her best friend, Sukie, beats up Francie periodically we learn why later on in the story , we feel Francie s physical and emotional pain.In the foreword, James Baldwin compares Francie in Meriwether s story to the Francie of Betty Smith s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn which took place about twenty years before Meriwether s book.Compare the heroine of this book to say nothing of the landscape with the heroine of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and you will see to what extent poverty wears a color and also, as we put it in Harlem, arrives at an attitude By this time, the heroine of Treeis among those troubled Americans, that silent majority which wonders what black Francie wants, and why she s so unreliable as a maid p5 6 The landscape that Baldwin references is the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn in Smith s novel, written in 1943, and, obviously, Harlem in Meriwether s book, written in 1970 Having read both books now, I find Meriwether s novel realistic, grittier I m one of the few who didn t care that much for A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, long assuming that it was because I read it too late in my life rather than as a younger reader as so many who clearly love the book But after reading Meriwether s book that covers some similar situations, but illustrates the real issues that go just beyond class, I find Meriwether s book much relevant to shit going on in our country today, including but not limited to wrongful incarceration.I m not sure why this book isn t as well known as A Tree Grows in Brooklyn perhaps it s because of some of the subjects Meriwether touches on It s an uncomfortable read at times, and would be very triggering for some readers Be aware of that going into it, but I would recommend this book to most readers.Uncomfortable reading does not mean it should not be read. Francie s story touched my heart I wanted her to leave 5th Avenue, away from the struggle but that s really what I loved about the book so much She was not a victim but a hero in so many ways As a 12 year old growing up during the Great Depression, life was hard And it sucked that Blacks were treated so poorly even when they tried to make an earnest living Francie was just a little girl trying to navigate through the good and very bad parts of her environment Her dad ran numbers and when that didn t work, turned to other odd jobs Her mother was resilient learning early on that she could not be too proud to ask for help, eventually getting herself a job and applying for relief, what we now call welfare Her brothers were smart men dealt different cards from the very beginning James Junior wasn t a fan of school and wasn t interested in college like his brother, Sterling James Junior felt comfortable running with the notorious gang, Ebony Earls devastating his family Francie wanted to keep the family together Because she was the youngest, she was often tormented by the neighborhood kids She accepted this punishment as a way of life and kept daydreaming about life outside of 5th Ave I wanted to rescue Francie from the disgusting grown men who lurked in the stairwells, on the streets and inside the grocery stores She wasn t safe at all and each day was a new battle I admire her drive and precious inquiring mind Although this book is fiction, I rooted for Francie the whole way and hope that she made it out. Depressing in its apparent realism wonderfully evoked by a real talent, and in the way nothing seems to have really changed in the intervening hundredish years of contemporary pop culture and reporting are even remotely accurate It s hard to call it America s Great Shame because it appears to have SO MANY Great Shames but to treat an entire people and their culture in this way really makes them no better than Nazis. Really enjoyed this coming of age story of Francie Coffin growing up in Harlem in the 1930s Most times funny, but many times sad, this is definitely a classic Picked it up from the library, but I ll be adding this to my personal collection. I read this on my Kindle I was so glad to see if offered I first read this well written classic book way back in the 1970s when I was a teenager It had only been out as a book a couple years then that book stayed with me all these years Daddy Was a Number Runner takes place in the 1930s depression in Harlem It is seen through the eyes of Francie an African american, 12 year old girl We seen Francie s life in Harlem over the course of a year Louise Meriwether did an excellent job describing what Harlem was like during this time.Francie and her family live in poverty, there is never enough money a lot times not enough food She has two older brothers Her father makes some money being a number runner this little girl witnesses things she shouldn t Crime, prostitution she faces her own dangers in Harlem It was a tough time for her and her family This is a very good book to read if you want to get an idea of what Harlem the depression 1930s and growing up is like under the circumstances I am glad I got the chance to read this very well done book again. A brutal and at times ebullient account of life in 1930s Harlem, in the midst of the depression, from a 12 year old girl s point of view If things are tough for the boys, who face work in the sewers if they re lucky and instead join gangs and hang out on street corners, it s infinitely worse for the girls either you was a whore like China Doll or you worked in a laundry or had a baby every year. The girls take it for granted they would get felt up when they go to the shops or the cinema if they don t let themselves get felt up they get less groceries They all play the numbers in the forlorn hope of getting a windfall However there is also music, laughter, a lot of fun, and support for each other When boxer Joe Louis beats an opponent at Madison Sq Gardens, all Harlem are out on the streets Strangers hugged me and I squeezed then back The crowd spilled off the pavement into the street, stalling cars, which honked good naturedly and then gave up as the riders jumped out and joined us in lindying down the middle of Lenox Avenue. I tell you, brothers and sisters, the black man in this country must make his own life The crying Negro must die The cringing Negro must die If he don t kill hisself the environment will, and we been dying for too long The man who gets the power is the man who develops his own strength I ain t talking about strength in his muscles but in his mind We got to get better education We got to build Negro economic and political freedom And if we don t, in fifty years from now, or sooner, this country will be bloody with race wars This novel captures honestly and not without controversy the life of POC living in Harlem during the Great Depression. A vivid portrayal, of a down on their luck Harlem family, during The Great Depression I m glad I gave this one a re read I don t think I picked up on the socio economic, historical, or political and cultural nuances that are here the first time. This book, when I read it as a child sometime in the early 70 s, changed my life I didn t know, before then, that there was such a thing as a novel with a little black girl as a protagonist I decided right then and there I wanted to be a writer, tell my own little girl story. This Beloved Modern Classic Documents The Lives And Hardships Of An African American Family Living In Depression Era Harlem While Year Old Francie Coffin S World And Family Threaten To Fall Apart, This Remarkable Young Heroine Must Call Upon Her Own Wit And Endurance To Survive Amidst The Treacheries Of Racism And Sexism, Poverty And Violence

Louise Meriwether born May 8, 1923 is an American novelist, essayist, journalist and activist, as well as a writer of biographies of historically important African Americans for children from Wikipedia

✵ [BOOKS] ⚦ Daddy Was a Number Runner By Louise Meriwether ✿ –
  • Paperback
  • 240 pages
  • Daddy Was a Number Runner
  • Louise Meriwether
  • English
  • 01 October 2019
  • 9781558614420

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