Some Love, Some Pain, Sometime
Joan Cooper was an American playwright and author known by her pen name, J. California Cooper. She wrote 17 plays and was named Black Playwright of the Year in 1978 for her play Strangers. It was at the encouragement of Alice Walker that Cooper turned from her claim to fame in the theatre and started writing short stories. Her first collection A Piece of Mine was published in 1984. Two other story collections followed, before the release of her first novel, Family, in 1991. Cooper wrote Funny Valentines, which later was turned into a 1999 TV movie starring Alfre Woodard and Loretta Devine.
Awards Cooper won include the American Book Award (for her 1986 short-story collection Homemade Love), a James Baldwin Writing Award and a Literary Lion Award from the American Library Association. Whether through her stories or her legendary readings, J. California Cooper has an uncanny ability to reach out to readers like an old and dear friend. Her characters are plain-spoken and direct: simple people for whom life, despite its ever-present struggles, is always worth the journey.
In Some Love, Some Pain, Sometime, Cooper’s characteristic themes of romance, heartbreak, struggle and faith resonate. We meet Darlin, a self-proclaimed femme fatale who uses her wiles to try to find a husband; MLee, whose life seems to be coming to an end at the age of forty until she decides to set out and see if she can make a new life for herself; Kissy and Buddy, both trying and failing to find them until they finally meet each other; and Aberdeen, whose daughter Uniqua shows her how to educate herself and move up in the world.
These characters and others offer inspiration, laughter, instruction and pure enjoyment in what is one of J. California Cooper’s finest story collections.
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