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Collier's first published collection of short stories. It includes standards such as "Marigolds" as well as newer selections such as the story "Breeder."
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This collection of stories about African American experiences purports to convey the real lives of a segment of society underrepresented in contemporary fiction. As well-meaning as these tales of poverty, slavery, lost love and lost innocence are, Collier's message dies with her flat, didactic writing. In rural Maryland during the Depression, a 14-year-old girl ushers in her adulthood by destroying an old woman's marigold patch--the last symbol of hope in her downtrodden neighborhood. A professor pursues her dream of teaching at a Southern black college and winds up fearing for her sanity as she investigates the history of her antebellum home and the slave woman who haunts it. A grandmother whohas lost her children to distance and marriage buys her granddaughter a doll house for Christmas; but the girl's mother refuses to let her daughter visit her mother-in-law, so she keeps the house and creates a new, albeit miniature, family that fulfills all her needs. In the title story, an old woman remembers her years as a breeder slave and how, after seeing two of her children sold away, she maims her new son rather than risk such loss again. Collier co-edited Afro-American Writing.
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