Monday, December 8, 2014

Book Review: Rainbow Jordan

Book Review: Rainbow Jordan (& Company)
Author: Alice Childress
Date: 1981
Publisher: Coward McCann & Geoghegan
ISBN: 0-698-20531-6
Length: 136 pages
Quote: “I’m not gonna talk against my own mother and say she abandon me...what else is it but abandon when she walk out with a boyfriend?”
The title on the cover is Rainbow Jordan. The title catalogued in the Library of Congress is Rainbow Jordan & Company. It’s all one short book.
Rainbow Jordan is fourteen. Her mother, Kathie, is twenty-nine. Her foster mother, Josie, is fifty. The three characters tell their story in turns, as if they were talking to Mayola, the social worker, whose age and whose qualifications to oversee the three of them are not explained.
Their story doesn’t have much plot. It’s the kind of story people tell to social workers. Not much changes. All three narrators are the kind of women who depend on men for excitement. In the course of the book Rainbow says no to a boy who promptly moves on to another “girl friend,” and Josie’s Significant Other moves away. No new romances or other forms of excitement take these undeserving men’s places. Adult readers know that in real life Rainbow would find another "boy friend," more deserving or not; we don't get to see her meeting him in this book. Readers get to know the three characters in a very close and personal way...but the characters aren’t necessarily the kind of women readers wanted to get to know.

There were real families like Rainbow Jordan's family in 1981. There still are; if anything there are more of them. The purpose of a novel about them, in the course of which the family draw a little closer to each other but don't have any major life-changing experiences, was to say to families like this one that the author understands where they are, to help readers understand where they are, and to help readers think about the choices that might lead to a more inspiring sequel to this story.

This book is recommended to readers who have lived in foster families, and understand that a foster family can be more lively, more successful, and more fun to know than Rainbow Jordan’s. 

Alice Childress no longer needs the dollar to which she'd be entitled if you paid me $5 for this book + $5 for shipping, so this is not a Fair Trade Book. It's still a book you can buy from me, but online shoppers can probably find a better price.