Miss Chloe: A Memoir of a Literary Friendship with Toni Morrison

Amistad. May 2022. 368p. ISBN 9780063031661. $27.99. LIT
Upon the publication of her first novel, The Good Negress, Verdelle earned the coveted praise of one of her literary role models, award-winning author Toni Morrison. Their eventual friendship is used as a lens to present Verdelle’s life and reflections in this vivid memoir. Verdelle tells of her journey beginning with her book-loving childhood, when she first read Morrison’s works, to becoming a published author and professor of creative writing. With similar career paths and shared lived experiences, Verdelle’s multifaceted friendship with Morrison was deeply influential on her life. Morrison became a source of wisdom, guidance, and sometimes frustration, with their friendship ebbing and flowing for decades until Morrison’s passing in 2019. Verdelle also reflects on the power and interconnection of language and race, offering readers a celebration of not only Morrison’s works but the power of literature for voices long oppressed.
VERDICT Verdelle’s stunningly precise and poetic language is a joy to savor. Morrison fans will delight in revisiting her works through Verdelle’s eyes and meeting the enigmatic writer in an intimate way.
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