AfriGeneas Books~Authors~Reviews Forum
WHAT YOU OWE ME~ A Review
" No one writes about Los Angeles as Bebe Moore Campbell does, getting all the details right: what people are eating, how they do their hair or what they see when they drive down the streets. However, it's not just the landscape that Campbell is interested in. It's how we get along, or don't, while we're driving and eating and looking at one another from our cars or across our desks. "What You Owe Me" takes on Los Angeles again, giving readers a multigenerational saga that begins in a meticulously reinvented landscape of 1940s Los Angeles, where black men and women arrived from the South and remade themselves. But this isn't a historical novel. Jumping to contemporary L.A., Campbell looks at the lives of the emigrants' children and grandchildren as they navigate cosmetics companies, barbecue joints, small homes in South-Central and anonymous luxury tracts in the San Fernando Valley. Campbell isn't out to simply detail the journey for us; she wants us to make the connections between old L.A. and new, to see what we learned from our pasts that we so distrust one another now, to show how we manage to work and live with one another and make reparations for the mistakes of earlier generations, all set against the backdrop of wanting and working, Southern California style. While raising a chorus of voices in minor keys that chant distrust, remorse and anger, Campbell has ultimately written a novel about forgiveness and redemption.