Always Wear Joy: My Mother Bold and Beautiful

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9780060523565: Always Wear Joy: My Mother Bold and Beautiful

Growing up with a black, Auntie Mame -- like mother who performed with the likes of Lena Horne and Alvin Ailey, and a WASP seafaring father, Susan Fales-Hill thought nothing of watching her mother, Josephine Premice, perform in an acclaimed Broadway musical one moment and fleeing to Faleton, her grandparents' summer estate, the next.

But it was from her mother -- a woman who was dressed by Givenchy and sculpted by Alexander Calder, yet rejected by many a casting agent for her "dark," unconventional looks -- that Susan drew inspiration, particularly when she faced challenges in her own career as a television writer in Hollywood, a town that wasn't always receptive to positive images of people of color. As a result, the two developed a bond that mothers and daughters everywhere will find inspiring.

Dazzling in their public lives and emotionally vulnerable in their private lives, there is not a person in this touching and, at times, funny family memoir that the reader will soon forget.

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About the Author:

Susan Fales-Hill is an award-winning television writer and producer. She has worked on shows ranging from The Cosby Show to A Different World, Linc's, and Suddenly Susan. Her writing has also appeared in Vogue, Town & Country, and Travel & Leisure. She lives in New York City.

From Booklist:

Josephine Premice, a beautiful and talented performer who never achieved the fame of contemporaries Diahann Carroll and Lena Horne, was equally dazzling as a wife and mother. Fales-Hill recalls the eclectic and effervescent family life spawned by her glamorous Haitian-born mother and a seafaring WASP father, circulating from Italy to New York's Upper West Side to Harlem to a wealthy Connecticut estate, with side trips to Broadway and Hollywood. Premice's career suffered as a result of the thin prospects for entertainers considered too black for the 1950s and not black enough for the opportunities that came later. Fales-Hill, a television producer, had her own struggles with stereotypical images of the black experience, which didn't include her privileged background or personal insecurities about her mixed racial heritage. She idealized her parents' marriage, overlooking her mother's profligacy and her father's philandering. But she fully appreciates the great joy and glamour of her mother--always outfitted in high heels and false eyelashes--as well as other black divas and their gift for living an exuberant life. Vanessa Bush
Copyright American Library Association. All rights reserved

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