Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones
Dana is a secret. She is the daughter of a hidden family. Her father James has two daughters, Dana and Chaurisse, born only four months apart, yet only one can claim him as her father in public. Dana is not that daughter.
Dana grows up knowing her father is a bigamist, knowing all about her sister and her family. She knows that if Chaurisse wants to attend a certain program or work at a certain place she cannot. She feels that Chaurisse is the lucky one, the favored daughter. Things start to unravel when Dana and Chaurisse start to hang out together. Dana is trying to learn everything she can about her sister while Chaurisse is thrilled to have a new friend. Secrets don’t stay secret forever.
Set in the 1980s in Atlanta this is an interesting look at how this social situation could actually seem to work for an extended period of time. I read an interview with the author and she was amazed at how many letters she received from people like Dana who were from hidden families.
I think the best part of the book was the perspective switch at the midpoint. The first half is told from Dana’s point of view and suddenly we have the story from Charuisse’s viewpoint. While it was jarring at first since the girls are more alike than either would ever admit, seeing the other side of the story was in interesting storytelling device.