Mambo Hips and Make Believe

Title: Mambo Hips and Make Believe

Author: Wanda Coleman

Publisher: Black Sparrow Press

Publication Year: 1999

ISBN: 1574230948

Wanda Coleman’s novel traces the friendship of two women, one white, one black—Her narrator, Tamala, is a white girl from the suburbs who recognizes Erlene, an African American, as a soul-mate in a confusing world of racial identity, romantic travails, and spiritual bankruptcy. Both are aspiring writers, both scramble to pay their bills by pickup jobs like waitressing and editing pulp magazines. For two decades they share each others' troubles and triumphs in and out of work and love. Coleman focuses primarily on the white protagonist's point of view; as the story unfolds and the characters' roots are unearthed, however, we learn that there's no such thing as "pure" white -- only a mix of bloods concealed over time.

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